Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Murkowski Muddles Toward Climate Regulations

Senator Murkowski mulls stopping EPA climate moves; Reuters

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would be prohibited for one year from clamping down on some new carbon dioxide pollution under legislation being crafted on Tuesday by Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski.

The "time out" would stop EPA from issuing regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from utilities and factories, the Republican senator said.

The Obama administration is urging Congress to pass a bill that would reduce smokestack emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that contribute to global warming.

The U.S. legislation is designed to be part of a global effort aimed at climate control steps to be discussed in Copenhagen in December.

More than 30 environmental groups wrote to senators urging them to oppose Murkowski's amendment if she offers it. The measure, they said, "would delay America's progress toward a clean energy economy that would create jobs, increase America's energy security, and cut pollution."

The Alaska senator said that she had not yet made a final decision on whether to pursue such an amendment to a bill now being debated by the Senate, which would fund EPA activities in the fiscal year starting October 1.

Murkowski said that she would not try to stand in the way of new EPA rules to reduce automobile emissions or collect information on U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

In remarks to reporters, Murkowski said that problems related to climate change needed to be addressed, but not through EPA regulation.

"Congress does need to act on climate change," Murkowski said, adding that EPA regulations could "poison" attempts to pass legislation.

While the House of Representatives passed a carbon emissions bill in June, similar efforts have bogged down in the Senate.

If Congress cannot pass comprehensive legislation because of opposition from conservative lawmakers, President Barack Obama's EPA has the authority to go ahead with carbon dioxide reduction efforts, in a more narrow way, possibly as early as next March.

While Murkowski said climate control legislation was necessary, she did not voice support for the "cap and trade" legislation passed by the House and being crafted in the Senate. Those would reduce carbon emissions over the next few decades and establish a trading system for companies to sell pollution permits to each other.

Instead, Murkowski has worked for narrower legislation encouraging the use of more alternative energy.
Comment: Using my best Marlon Brando voice, "the lie...the lie..."

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