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Posted at 6:17 PM ET, 01/ 6/2011

House Republicans seek to limit EPA climate rules

By Juliet Eilperin

The 112th Congress has just begun, and so have the attacks on the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to regulate greenhouse gases.

Three Republican House members -- Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), Shelley Moore Capito (W. Va.) and Ted Poe (Tex.) have each introduced separate bills aimed at blocking EPA from regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

The three measures hamstring the agency's authority in different ways: Blackburn's would "amend the Clean Air Act to provide that greenhouse gases are not subject to the Act," even though the Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that they are; Capito's would delay EPA from regulating carbon dioxide and methane for two years; and Poe's would prohibit any agency funding "to be used to implement or enforce a cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gases."

While Capito's bill is the most modest of the bunch, the West Virginia lawmaker explained in a statement that she has introduced a more limited bill because she thinks it has enough votes to pass and block initiatives such as new EPA permitting requirements that now require major new greenhouse gas emitters to show how they would use the best available current technology to lower their carbon footprint.

"Time is of the essence," she said. "The Democrats failed to act in any way to stop the EPA from implementing new rules pertaining to greenhouse gas emissions on January 2, 2011.Without congressional action to say otherwise, the EPA will continue to dismantle energy and manufacturing industries through regulation."

Franz Matzner, climate and air legislative director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an advocacy group, decried the move.

"It sure didn't take long for big polluters to show what money can buy," Matzner said in a statement. "Banning or delaying the EPA from issuing any health safeguards whatsoever against carbon dioxide pollution would be nothing less than a dream-come-true for industries that would put profits ahead of our health and too many House members seem willing to do just that. It would be irresponsible for lawmakers to abolish the EPA's ability to cut carbon pollution, leaving polluters free to dump into our air without limit."

While one or more of these proposals may pass the House, it is unclear whether they can garner enough votes to pass the Senate. On Thursday Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.)--who kept her seat as well as her gavel despite last fall's GOP wave--issued a spirited defense of the EPA.

"EPA is following what the latest scientific research tells us about the threat posed by air pollution, including greenhouse gas pollution," Boxer said in her speech. "This committee will remain vigilant to ensure that politics and special interests do not interfere with the ability of the EPA and the states to act in accordance with the law to respond to what the scientists are telling us."

EPA spokesman Brendan Gilfillan wrote in an e-mail that the agency "is committed to continuing to pursue sensible policies to ensure the protections of clean air and clean water that the American people deserve."

Republicans aren't the only ones working to limit the agency's climate authority: Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) has announced that he plans to reintroduce his bill that would impose a two-year delay on EPA's ability to limit greenhouse gases, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has indicated that bill introductions will have to wait until Jan. 25.

This post has been updated since it was first published.

By Juliet Eilperin  | January 6, 2011; 6:17 PM ET
 
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Comments

‘ "It sure didn't take long for big polluters to show what money can buy," Matzner said in a statement. "Banning or delaying the EPA from issuing any health safeguards whatsoever against carbon dioxide pollution would be nothing less than a dream-come-true for industries that would put profits ahead of our health ………… ‘


Hey Matzner, CO2 in the air is at 388 PPM (climbing 2 PPM in 2009). It is considered to be at an ‘unhealthy level’ at 5000 PPM (according to Wikipedia). Approaching ‘unhealthy levels’ is what the EPA is supposed to keep from happening, when things are becoming REAL pollutants.


So at a 2 PPM increase per year, it will take 2300 years to reach unhealthy levels. The EPA should start regulating CO2 in about 1500+ years!

Start whining then Matzner.


Posted by: bcarte1 | January 6, 2011 4:31 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats did not fail to act to stop the EPA, and really hope a majority of them want the EPA to regulate the green house gasses and thus protect the planet.

BTW One good point would be to require Feedlots and other factory animal production factories to reclaim the Methane produced by at least the waste produced by their animals. It has been shown to be a relatively cheap and easy way to produce electric power, and greatly lowers disposal costs for the waste. The Feedlots around Lubbock TX could likely provide power for the whole city of Lubbock, or at least the city of Posey, TX from the 100,000's of cattle in the feedlots.

Posted by: Muddy_Buddy_2000 | January 6, 2011 4:33 PM | Report abuse

On most any pro-man made global warming site you see the huge looking number 388 ppm as the current amount of CO2 in the atmospheir. They do not tell you that is less than 4 one hundreths of one percent of the earths atmosphier. It is not a problem. The most abundant "greenhouse gass" by far is water vapor.... but you can not tax clouds so CO2, a gas that is esential for life on earth has been made the culprit because it can be taxed and fined.

Posted by: markandbeth92 | January 6, 2011 4:37 PM | Report abuse

A proper title for the article is:

house democrats authorize power grab by unelected officials at EPA.

that is a much more logical story.

but since when has wapo used logic?

Posted by: docwhocuts | January 6, 2011 5:10 PM | Report abuse

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