Senate fails to halt EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gases

By Melissa Coon

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, June 10 – Members of the U.S. Senate voted against consideration of a resolution disapproving EPA’s regulation of greenhouse-gas emissions by 47-53 today. The resolution, sponsored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and 40 co-sponsors, would have prevented the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

Despite heavy lobbying from the White House, which had promised to veto the measure, six Democrats voted in favor of the motion to proceed, including Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Mark Pryor (D-AR), John D. Rockefeller (D-WV), Evan Bayh (D-IN), Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA).

Murkowski argued that the EPA regulation of carbon dioxide would have a negative economic impact on her constituents by threatening projects such as the construction of a natural gas pipeline.

“The sweeping powers being pursued by the EPA are the worst possible option for reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” she said. “It would reduce emissions at an unreasonably high cost and through an unnecessarily bureaucratic process. It would amount to an unprecedented power grab, ceding Congress’ responsibilities to unelected bureaucrats, and move an important debate from our open halls to behind an agency’s closed doors.”

Murkowski said that most of the country supported her resolution.

“It would threaten valuable jobs during an economic downturn and it has the potential of actually discouraging the use of clean, renewable energy that is already helping to keep people working today,” said U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) who fought in favor of the Murkowski resolution.

However, most Democrats, like Environment & Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA), did not feel the same way. Boxer tried to divert attention away from the issue, focusing much of her opening statement on the oil spill in the Gulf.

Other Democrats questioned the impact the resolution held on the health and safety of Americans. In particular, they focused on the future of the American children.

“It would be a threat to our children and to our environment that we want them to grow up in,” said Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) who also opposed the resolution.

The American Farm Bureau Federation expressed disappointment that the Senate failed to halt the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of greenhouse gases by failing to approve S.J. Res. 26, calling this as one of the most important votes in the Senate this year affecting U.S. agriculture.

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