EPA Carbon Rules Remain Intact as Senate Rejects Amendments
The Democratic-led Senate defeated four amendments to small-business legislation that would have restricted, delayed or prohibited the EPA’s limits on carbon-dioxide gases spewed from tailpipes and smokestacks. The Republican-controlled House is scheduled to vote tomorrow on a bill blocking the EPA rules.
The EPA imposed the regulations to limit carbon-dioxide emissions after Congress failed to pass legislation backed by President Barack Obama to create a cap-and-trade system for pollution allowances. Republicans and some Democrats say the rules are unnecessary and harmful to the economy. The Obama administration today praised the Senate’s action.
“By rejecting efforts to roll back EPA’s common-sense steps to safeguard Americans from harmful pollution, the Senate also rejected an approach that would have increased the nation’s dependence on oil, contradicted the scientific consensus on global warming and jeopardized America’s ability to lead the world in the clean energy economy,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.
Earlier today, the House rejected amendments to a bill sponsored by Representative Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Upton’s bill would strip the EPA of authority to regulate emissions from stationary polluters, such as power plants and oil refineries, under the Clean Air Act. It also would reject the agency’s finding that greenhouse gases endanger the public.
Obama’s aides would advise a veto should Upton’s legislation reach the White House, the administration said yesterday.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky introduced a measure in the Senate today that was identical to Upton’s bill. The proposed amendment to small-business legislation was defeated 50-50. The measure required 60 votes.
A ban on the EPA rules in effect since January would “prevent unelected bureaucrats at the EPA from imposing a new national energy tax,” McConnell said today.
Senators also rejected amendments offered by Democratic Senators Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan that called for the EPA carbon regulations to be delayed for two years. A bill from Senator Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, that would have restricted the scope of the rules, also lost. The three bills each got fewer than 15 votes.
A February poll commissioned by the American Lung Association found that 60 percent of people questioned said Congress shouldn’t stop the EPA rules and 35 percent thought lawmakers should bar the agency from limiting discharges of carbon dioxide, a primary greenhouse gas.
The survey of 500 probable voters Feb. 7-14 by Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Republican pollster Ayres, McHenry & Associates, according to the Washington-based association, a health-advocacy group. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent.
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