Yet Another Bill to Block EPA’s Climate Regs

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UPDATE: Looks like Upton and Inhofe have now actually released a discusssion draft of the bill. The draft is newer than the one that Markey and Waxman sent out earlier, with a time-stamp of 5:05 p.m. Feb. 2.

ORIGINAL: Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, was reportedly set to release a bill that would block the Environmental Protection Agency from implementing greenhouse gas regulations on Wednesday. But by 6 p.m., the bill was still nowhere to be seen—so House Democrats pushed out a draft copy of the legislation to reporters themselves.

Politico had some details last week, noting that Upton had been working with Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) on a bill together to introduce in both the House and Senate. This is a draft of a House bill, titled the “Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011.” It would amend the Clean Air Act to make it state explicitly that it does not cover greenhouse gases, and would repeal the EPA’s scientific finding that greenhouse gases are a threat to human health.  It would also overrule the Supreme Court’s determination that those gases can be regulated under the Clean Air Act. The measure would also bar the EPA from setting new emissions standards for automobiles, and from granting states waivers that allow them set their own higher standards for cars and light trucks.

Inhofe is the most vocal skeptic of climate change in the Senate, so of course he doesn’t see any reason for the EPA to regulate emissions. Upton, however, has been moderate on this issue in the past, and even endorsed the premise that emissions should be cut.

Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.)—authors of the cap and trade bill that the House passed in 2009 to deal with global warming—sent the draft of the bill to reporters Wednesday evening, stating that they received a copy from “industry lobbyists.” The two Democrats panned the draft as an “assault the Clean Air Act” in a release sent to reporters Wednesday night.

“The Republicans have a lot of power, but they can’t amend the laws of nature. Gutting the Clean Air Act is only going to make our problems worse,” said Waxman in a statement. “This proposal threatens public health and energy security, and it undermines our economic recovery by creating regulatory uncertainty.”

This week certainly is shaping up to be an all-out assault on the EPA. A group of Senate Democrats have introduced a bill that would delay EPA regulations for two years. And a group of Senate Republicans introduced a bill this week that would bar the EPA from acting on climate under almost every major existing environmental law.

More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk

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