The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Congress vs. EPA: A Contest Worth Watching

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted March 5, 2010

Pressure is mounting against the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) bid to regulate greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) under the Clean Air Act. And with so many members of Congress involved, a scorecard is needed to keep track of the action.

Yesterday, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) introduced legislation to suspend EPA's proposed GHG stationary-source regulations for two years. In a statement, Sen. Rockefeller said:

"Congress, not the EPA, must be the ideal decision-maker on such a challenging issue...We must set this delay in stone and give Congress enough time to consider a comprehensive energy bill..."

Similar legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Nick Rahall (D-WV), Alan Mollohan (D-WV), and Rick Boucher (D-VA).

The United Mine Workers of America union voiced its support for Rockefeller's bill. In a letter, union President Cecil Roberts stated that the Clean Air Act was "not designed to address" climate change.

Likewise, the National Automobile Dealers Association and a large group of Ohio-based businesses and trade associations penned separate letters expressing their objections to EPA's proposed regulations. The Ohio letter, which was sent to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), says allowing the EPA to regulate GHGs "would be inflexible and cost prohibitive, thereby hurting Ohio businesses, workers and families."

This flurry of activity prompted Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) to issue a statement pointing out the bipartisan "resistance to EPA's back-door climate regulations." Murkowski introduced a resolution of disapproval in the Senate several days ago to prevent EPA from moving forward on GHG regulations.

This week Reps. Ike Skelton (D-MO), Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) introduced an identical resolution in the House, while Reps. John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Joe Barton (R-TX) introduced a similar resolution calling the proposed regulations a "back door national energy tax."

There are scores of members of the Senate and the House--Democrats and Republicans--who have gone on the record against EPA's current path toward GHG regulations. At last count, the various measures have a total 330 sponsors and cosponsors.