House Panel Rejects Measure Backing EPA Finding on Climate

A Republican-led House panel rejected a measure supporting the Obama administration’s finding that the earth’s climate is warming because of human activity.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee voted 31-20 along party lines to turn down an amendment by Representative Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, to a measure that would block Environmental Protection Agency greenhouse-gas rules. The bill also rejects the agency’s finding that carbon-dioxide emissions endanger the public.

“This is science denial,” Waxman, former chairman of the committee, said today after the vote. “It’s not worthy of this committee.”

The committee debated the scientific evidence supporting a conclusion that man-made climate change is a threat to the public as lawmakers consider whether the EPA should regulate carbon-dioxide pollution from smokestacks and tailpipes. Republican lawmakers argued that the rules will hurt the economy and offer no environmental benefit.

“Let’s not sell the American people an environmental placebo that promises great things but delivers nothing,” said Representative Brian Bilbray, a California Republican.

Bilbray said Democrats are ignoring the fact that the EPA regulations won’t affect global climate change because they won’t achieve the kind of emissions cuts that scientists say need to occur to avoid dangerous global warming.

‘Hasn’t Been Proven’

Representative Joe Barton, a Texas Republican and skeptic of the link between human activity and global warming, said the EPA has never conducted its own study of climate change.

“I have yet to see them actually do a real scientific analysis on their own,” he said. The theory of climate change “hasn’t been proven,” he said.

Representative Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat, said the U.S. must act to cut greenhouse gases or “it may be too late.”

The panel rejected three amendments supporting the science of climate change today. The committee voted 31-21 against an amendment by Representative Jay Inslee, a Washington Democrat, that said Congress accepts that greenhouse gases pose a threat to public health. It turned down a similar proposal by Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat.

The committee approved by voice vote an amendment from Representative James Matheson, a Utah Democrat, that said there’s an “established scientific concern over warming of the climate system” and the U.S. has a role in resolving global warming. The measure says Congress should develop policies that don’t harm the economy.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky today introduced an amendment to a measure dealing with legislation on small businesses that also would block the EPA rules. The measure is identical to legislation sponsored by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican, according to an e-mailed statement from McConnell’s office.

(Updates with comment from Waxman in third paragraph.)
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