Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Senate Showdown Over EPA's Greenhouse Gas Regs

Thursday Shaping Up as a Senate Showdown Over EPA's Greenhouse Gas Regs; The New York Times

Two Senate Democrats yesterday said they may support an amendment to block U.S. EPA climate rules, increasing the odds of its success when the Senate Appropriations Committee votes Thursday on EPA's budget.

The potential supporters of an appropriations rider are Sens. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), both of whom are co-sponsors of a bill from Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) that would freeze EPA's ability to regulate emissions from stationary sources for two years.

"I'd like to see what amendments are offered, and I'll make a judgment about that," Dorgan said. "I do think that it makes sense to have some time here to have Congress make the ultimate decision rather than EPA."

Chris Gallegos, a spokesman for Appropriations Committee ranking member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), yesterday said he expects to see amendments related to greenhouse gas regulations and offshore drilling. It remains to be seen who would propose the measures and how broad their scope would be.

The chief candidate on the climate front is Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who earlier this year introduced a resolution to reject EPA's finding that greenhouse gases endanger human health and welfare. ...

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a former sponsor of cap-and-trade legislation and a co-sponsor of the Murkowski resolution, said he does not expect the Senate to pass anything limiting EPA's greenhouse gas regulations. Before the Senate voted down the Murkowski resolution, Graham had predicted that the measure would pass the Senate.

"I just don't think there's nearly the votes for that," Graham said yesterday. "And I don't think you can pre-empt the EPA successfully without going to the environmentalists and having some sort of compromise."

That sort of compromise could be a cap-and-trade bill to limit greenhouse gas emissions from the utility sector, Graham said, adding that such a bill won't pass this year.

Read the whole article here.

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