Republicans move to stop EPA CO2 rules
A House committee approved the bill that would halt EPA regulations to control emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants linked to climate change.
Tue, Mar 15, 2011 at 06:40 PM
SUPPORTER: Senator James Inhofe has been instrumental in blocking climate control legislation over the last decade, and he and other Republicans are now moving to squelch more narrow EPA regulations. (Photo: ZUMA Press)
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Republicans in the Congress on Tuesday pushed forward with legislation that would kill the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to regulate greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee, on a mostly partisan vote, approved the bill that would halt EPA regulations that began this year to control emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants linked to climate change.
A House subcommittee had approved this measure last week.
In the Senate, Republican leader Mitch McConnell moved to attach identical legislation to an unrelated small business bill being debated in the chamber.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton is working in tandem with Senator James Inhofe, a leading skeptic of human-induced climate change and a critic of government attempts to control carbon dioxide pollution.
Environmentalists denounced the House panel's action.
"Passage of this bill puts polluters ahead of the public and stops the EPA from protecting the health of every American," said Franz Matzner of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Inhofe has been instrumental in blocking climate control legislation over the last decade, and he and other Republicans are now moving to squelch more narrow EPA regulations.
"Imposing a backdoor national energy tax through the EPA is a strange way to respond to rising gas prices," McConnell said.
It was unclear when a vote on the climate-related amendment would be called in the Senate. McConnell predicted "bipartisan support" for the legislation, but stopped short of saying there would be the 60 votes of support likely to be needed in the 100-member Senate.
The measure would stop EPA from regulating carbon dioxide emissions from large factories, oil refineries and electric utilities.
In January, EPA went ahead with regulations aimed at large polluters by requiring them to obtain permits for emitting carbon and other greenhouse gases. Still to come this year are proposed rules that would limit emissions from power plants and oil refineries.
EPA is moving ahead with the regulations after efforts to pass climate control legislation collapsed in the Senate last year. The House passed a comprehensive bill in 2009.
Inhofe, speaking on the Senate floor, said new controls on carbon pollution would cost families in his home state of Oklahoma about $3,000 annually in higher energy prices.
But Democrats and environmentalists have challenged such estimates as scare tactics and say the high cost figures were based on outdated or faulty research.
Under legislation in Congress last year, consumers would have been compensated for some of the higher energy costs associated with moving the U.S. economy toward using more alternative fuels such as wind and solar power.
(Editing by Mohammad Zargham)
Copyright 2011 Reuters Environmental Online Report