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Lisa Murkowski wants to block EPA action on climate change


So far, the Senate hasn't been able to get its act together long enough to pass legislation doing something about climate change. But if Lisa Murkowski has her way, it will get its act together long enough to do something making sure the EPA can't do anything about climate change:

Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Tuesday left open the possibility that she would seek a vote next week on stopping the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from going forward with regulations to limit greenhouse-gas emissions.

"I do not believe and I don't believe that most of my colleagues in the Senate believe that the EPA is the entity that is the best suited to develop climate-change policy for this country," Murkowski (R-Alaska) told reporters. "I'm trying to get a time-out. I'm trying to allow the legislative process to proceed. I'm hopeful that we'll be able to have a vote that will allow for that discussion."

Democrats, businesses and environmentalists are closely watching the vote, which could come in the form of an amendment to a debt-ceiling measure up for a vote in the Senate next week.


Photo credit: By Alex Wong/Associated Press

By Ezra Klein  |  January 13, 2010; 11:09 AM ET
Categories:  Climate Change  
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Senator Murkowski is being disgingenuous. The Congress can ALWAYS override, nullify or repeal anything the EPA does, so blocking the EPA now has NOTHING to do with preserving Congressional authority.

Moreover, action by the EPA will force Congress to take up the issue rather than ignoring it forever. Such action is entirely legal -- the Supreme Court held that Congress has already given the EPA such authority.

Nothing wrong with that.

Posted by: mnjam | January 13, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

How about a filibuster of the amendment? Seems like we could sustain that.

Posted by: rt42 | January 13, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Profound changes in policy should be made by Congress, not by agencies. If Congress won't give you the result you want, that's life in a Democracy.

Posted by: ostap666 | January 13, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Sounds to me like a good time for 40 democrats to take advantage of the filibuster....

Posted by: zosima | January 13, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse


It is not just that the Supreme Court has ruled that the EPA has the power to regulate greenhouse gases, the Supreme Court has ruled that the EPA not regulating AGW gases is a violation of the Clean Air Act of 1970. In other words, the EPA is legally required to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

Would it be better if the Senate passed a more economically efficient mechanism of regulating AGW gases? Yes. But if they don't, the EPA must regulate AGW gases in the inefficient way that their current mandate requires.

Posted by: zosima | January 13, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the Senator from Alaska could count heads in the Senate before she tries to take over as Majority leader. Should she offer her amendment, it is likely to die a lonely death, and very quickly.

Posted by: ceflynline | January 13, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

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