Murkowski vs. the Clean Air Act: Round 2


The Senate voted down an attempt to take away the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate carbon dioxide pollution last month, but the fight isn’t over. In fact, it’s only beginning.

That measure, offered by Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski, was premised (rather shakily, considering its source) on the idea that Congress, not the EPA, should act on climate change. But now that the Senate has made it clear that it’s not doing anything anytime soon, Murkowski is planning to take another jab at the Clean Air Act.

Now Murkowski is considering whether to take it upon herself to offer the measure that Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) floated, which would set a two-year time-out on new regulations on planet-warming gases from the EPA, set to begin phasing in next year. Rockefeller says he has been promised a floor vote on that measure. Murkowski says she’s just “helping” Democrats get around to voting on Rockefeller’s measure.

So far, she’s floated the idea of pinning it to the small business bill currently under consideration, since it doesn’t look like Majority Leader Harry Reid will allow amendments on that bill.

More on her plans, via The Hill:

Murkowski said that it would be more natural to offer Rockefeller’s amendment to an upcoming oil-spill response and energy package, but that “it doesn’t look like we’ll have any opportunity to have any amendments [to that package]. Which I find quite stunning.”

“So at this point in time, I’m helping the majority leader keep his commitment to bringing the Rockefeller bill up for a vote.”

The vote on Murkowski’s last measure was uncomfortably close, with six Democrats siding with the entirety of the Republican Party against the EPA. A vote on Rockefeller could be even closer, especially now that regulations under the Clean Air Act loom on the horizon in 2011. Now that the Senate has punted on climate action, expect these EPA attacks to become more potent in the coming months.

More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.