Senate to Vote on Murkowski EPA Block Today

The Senate is debating the measure from Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) that would block the Environmental Protection Agency’s conclusion that greenhouse gas emissions threaten public health.

So far, a number of Democrats whose votes were in question have come forward and said they would vote against it. Jim Webb (D-Va.) just said in a statement that he would vote against it. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska) yesterday indicated that they are likely to vote against it as well.

But there are still four Democrats likely to vote for it: Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia. Lincoln just gave a speech on the floor declaring that “Congress, not unelected bureaucrats, should be making the decisions.”

The majority of Democrats, however, are opposing the measure. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), speaking for the majority, called the move to block an agency’s scientific conclusion “unprecedented.” “We have no right to do this,” said Boxer. “What we going to do next, repeal the law of gravity?”

Debate limited to six hours, so it will likely end with a vote somewhere around 3:30 p.m. EST. It needs only a simple majority to pass. Right now it looks like Murkowski has at least 42 votes. It probably won’t pass, but it could be a close one. I’m live-Tweeting the debate, which you can follow below:

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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.