House of Representatives Passes Legislation to Strip EPA of its authority to Regulate Greenhouse Gases, but Senate Rejects Similar Measures
Related Topics: Climate Change
On Friday, April 8, the House of Representatives passed the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011 (HR 910), sponsored by Representative Fred Upton (R-MI), by a 255-172 vote. The bill would strip EPA of its authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. However, this effort is stymied in Congress for now because similar language had been rejected by the Senate earlier in the week. Specifically, the Senate rejected a series of amendments to a small business bill which sought to restrict EPA’s authority on this issue. The amendment which gained the most support – sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and reflecting the language of HR 910 – failed on a 50-50 vote. (The amendment need 60 votes to pass.) Three other amendments – filed on behalf of Senators Baucus (D-MT), Stabenow (D-MI), and Rockefeller (D-WV) respectively – also failed:
- The Baucus amendment, which would have prohibited the regulation of greenhouse gases from certain sources, was rejected by a 93-7 vote;
- The Stabenow amendment, which would have suspended, for 2 years, any EPA enforcement of greenhouse gas regulations; exempted American agriculture from greenhouse gas regulations; and increased the number of companies eligible to participate in the successful Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit Program, was rejected by a 93-7 vote; and
- The Rockefeller amendment, which would have suspended for two years any EPA action under the Clean Air Act with respect to carbon dioxide or methane, other than with respect to motor vehicle emissions, was rejected by a 88-12 vote.
Similar Republican provisions to restrict EPA’s authority have also been stripped out of the apparent agreement on the FY 2011 budget which is expected to be approved on Friday, April 15. But undoubtedly, the fight over this issue will be revisited in the months ahead.
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