Senate Bill Seeks to Halt EPA Action on Greenhouse Gases

U.S. Sen. John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) on March 4 introduced legislation to suspend potential U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulation of greenhouse gases from stationary sources for two years.

“Today, we took important action to safeguard jobs, the coal industry, and the entire economy as we move toward clean coal technology,” said Rockefeller. “This legislation will issue a two-year suspension on EPA regulation of greenhouse gases from stationary sources—giving Congress the time it needs to address an issue as complicated and expansive as our energy future. Congress, not the EPA, must be the ideal decision-maker on such a challenging issue.

“Two weeks ago, I sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson challenging EPA’s potential regulation of greenhouse gases. Administrator Jackson responded quickly and showed some willingness to move the agency’s timetable for regulation to the end of 2010. This is a positive change and good progress, but I am concerned it may not be enough time. We must set this delay in stone and give Congress enough time to consider a comprehensive energy bill to develop the clean coal technologies we need. At a time when so many people are hurting, we need to put decisions about clean coal and our energy future into the hands of the people and their elected representatives, not a federal environmental agency.”

Congressman Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) is introducing the House of Representatives companion legislation, with Reps. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.) and Rick Boucher (D-Va.) as original cosponsors.

The legislation directs that for two years after enactment, EPA can take no regulatory action and that no stationary source shall be subject to any requirement to obtain a permit or meet a New Source Performance Standard under the Clean Air Act with respect to carbon dioxide or methane, except for the widely supported motor vehicle emission standards.

The American Chemistry Council's Chief Executive Officer Cal Dooley issued the following statement: “We welcome Sen. Rockefeller’s decision to introduce this bill. Given EPA's inadequate response to the many important questions being raised about the economic impact of pending EPA regulations, it’s imperative that Congress step in, suspend development of the regulations, and assert firm control over national climate policy. Sen. Rockefeller’s bill is a measured response that deserves serious consideration by the House and Senate. We also commend the leadership of those in Congress who, like Senator Rockefeller, understand the consequences of EPA’s action for American jobs and the economy.

We agree with Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s assessment that Sen. Rockefeller’s bill is a sign of growing ‘resistance to EPA’s back-door climate regulations.’ We urge Congress to move quickly to halt EPA’s ill-considered regulatory plan, and the Rockefeller legislation is an important step in the process. Congress must also develop a long-term greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategy for the nation."