Jane Van Ryan
Posted February 5, 2010
This week, three more members of Congress introduced legislation to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) under the Clean Air Act. As one sponsor Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) said, the regulations "will undo any positive things that we can do for our economy." (AP)
Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) has introduced similar legislation in the House. In the Senate, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and several cosponsors are pushing for a resolution of disapproval aimed at preventing EPA from adding GHGs to its extensive air-quality portfolio. Murkowski has called the potential GHG regulations an "economic train wreck."
The Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO (BCTD) has joined the effort to prevent EPA from regulating GHG emissions. In a letter to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, President Mark Ayers warns that the EPA regulations could have "severe negative consequences" as well as have "a chilling effect on the constructio" activities that put our members to work."
As we've reported on this blog, states also have raised concerns about the cost and avalanche of paperwork that the EPA regulations could trigger. Now a new report in USA Today says many states "are slashing funds for environmental programs, threatening their ability to meet federal standards for clean air and water." According to the report, the states' budget problems are forcing them to focus on other, more time-sensitive issues rather than implementing and enforcing new EPA environmental rules.
Many participants in the climate debate believe the responsibility for acting on GHGs should rest with Congress, not an agency that isn't directly accountable to the American public. There also are concerns that EPA's focus is too narrow. The agency advocates for the environment, and some critics say it does not pay adequate attention to economic impacts.
"For our economy to restore the millions of jobs needed for economic revitalization, environmental protection and economic growth must be considered together," Ayers said.
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