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Posted at 5:44 PM ET, 02/23/2011

Va. delegates pass measure urging Congress to stop EPA from further regulating air quality

By Fredrick Kunkle

Virginia's House on Wednesday endorsed a sweeping resolution -- written at least in part, its sponsor acknowledged, by the coal industry -- urging Congress to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases and to impose a two-year moratorium on the agency from writing any new air-quality regulations except in an emergency.

The resolution, sponsored by Del. James W. "Will" Morefield (R-Tazewell), passed the Republican-led House with nine co-sponsors on a vote of 64 to 33.

Morefield, who comes from the state's coal-mining area, said the General Assembly needed to fight back against the EPA's overweening authority. Citing a study by the Heritage Foundation, Morefield said recently proposed greenhouse regulations would cripple the economy by imposing $23 billion in new costs on energy producers.

"It suggests just the tip of the iceberg of what's coming," Morefield said, adding that Appalachian Power alone has spent $2 billion to meet federal regulations.

"I must stress to the body that more regulations will result in higher utility rates and fewer well-paying jobs in my district," said Morefield, who is serving his second term in the House. "This is no longer about the birds and the bees ... "

Other Republicans suggested that the effort to regulate greenhouse gases to stop global warming is founded on bogus science.

But Democrats grilled Morefield on the scope of his resolution and warned that if successful, it would gut EPA efforts to control ground-level ozone, smog, acid rain and other airborne pollutants.

Del. David J. Toscano (D-Charlottesville) also drew attention to Morefield's use of the phrase "train wreck" in the resolution.

"I guess I'd ask the gentleman, since this is not a legal term, and it doesn't seem to be a scientific term, is this your term -- or did it come from some other organization or group?' Toscano asked.

"This was not my term. This was presented to me by the coal industry," Morefield replied, eliciting guffaws on the other side of the aisle.

Toscano pointed out that the Supreme Court ruled in 2009 that the EPA, under the Clean Air Act, is required to regulate greenhouse gases.

The Sierra Club's Virginia chapter wasted no time after the vote issuing a news release characterizing the resolution as an "assault on clean air" and a gift to "big polluters who are jeopardizing our families' well-being."

HR72 is all but certain to receive a chillier reception in the Senate.

*As a House resolution, and not a joint resolution , HR72 will not go to the Senate...

By Fredrick Kunkle  | February 23, 2011; 5:44 PM ET
Categories:  General Assembly 2011  
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Next: Updated: Morrissey takes bar exam, asks for his law license back


The anti-EPA bill passed by Virginia House Republicans is a prime example of what conservatives believe in and stand for: money for their corporate masters.

Republicans passed a coal-industry written resolution, full of half-truths and untruths, to urge the Environmental Protection Agency NOT to do its job of enforcing clean air standards, a job requirement of federal legislation and Supreme court order.

Each of the delegates who voted for this bill did three things:

(1) they picked corporate wealth over the common good;

(2) they urged a federal agency to disobey the law (to promote corporate interests); and

(3) they violated their oath of office to support the federal and state constitutions, both of which state that primary purposes of government are to protect the people and to promote the general welfare of society.

Virginia conservative Republicans are true friends of the oligarchs, but not “of the people.”

Posted by: DrDemocracy | February 24, 2011 7:48 AM | Report abuse

"Citing a study by the Heritage Foundation"

Seeing how they are trying to use that study to base this law on, Cuccinelli should supoena the Heritage Foundations emails between them and the coal industry to see how they rigged the numbers.

Posted by: MarilynManson | February 24, 2011 8:37 AM | Report abuse

The GOP at work, kowtowing to industry. They don't care about giving us a cesspool to live in. They continue to live in the 19th century. They are incapable of looking to the future.

Posted by: jckdoors | February 24, 2011 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps he literally feels that stricter limits on CO2 emissions will actually cause trains to crash.

Seriously, though, who rides on trains? Joe Biden and a bunch of union teacher slackers on spring break, that's who. These teachers need to spend less time on strike and more time painting my house on summer vacation.

But I digress. Look at it this way -- plants eat CO2; kudzu is a plant; kudzu grows over railroad tracks; kudzu could slow the trains down so they don't crash. Plus, the trains could burn more coal to get where they're going, which is good for the economy because it supports a vital energy producing industry. Well, okay, nitpick me if you want, trains don't burn coal any more, they burn diesel. Same thing, though. Anyway, fewer trains, slower trains, more time for those EPA socialists to get to work, less time for them to be at work relentlessly pursuing their job killing socialist Kenyan agenda.

Yes, I am looking for a job with the Air Force trolling forums. Frequent freedom fliers, please contact me at

Whoa boy, don't you lie on the trackalacka

Posted by: pressF1 | February 24, 2011 11:48 AM | Report abuse

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