GOP Threatens to Veto EPA "Endangerment" Finding
By David A. Fahrenthold
Having failed in a previous attempt to squash the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to regulate greenhouse gases, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is trying another.
In a press conference with other Republican Senators Thursday, Murkowski said she would introduce legislation under the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress a kind of veto over decisions by the federal bureaucracy.
Murkowski wants Congress to use this veto on the EPA's recent finding that greenhouse gases are a danger to public health. That decision, known as the "endangerment" finding in environmental-wonk circles, sets in motion the regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.
Even the EPA says that this is not the best way to deal with greenhouse gases: the Obama Administration has called for Congress to pass legislation with a trading scheme that lets polluters buy and sell the right to emit.
But Murkowski said she didn't like the idea that the threat of EPA action is a stick designed to force Congress to act.
"The administration is, through the use of the EPA, trying to strong-arm Congress into passing economically harmful legislation by threatening to impose economically harmful regulations," Murkowski said, according to a transcript of the press conference.
Earlier this year, Murkowski tried to insert language into legislation that would have stopped the EPA from using money to regulate greenhouse gases for a year. That was rejected by Democratic leadership.
Her current tactic was also endorsed Thursday by Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), whose climate brainstorming with Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) has spawned hopes for a bipartisan climate bill.
"You will find a bipartisan congressional reaction to this problem created by the EPA," Graham said, according to the transcript.
But Murkowski's new tactic will still be hard to pull off.
It would have to be passed by a majority in both the House and Senate, and signed by President Obama--the same president who chose the EPA leadership that made the decision in the first place.
In a statement, the EPA said its decision was based on "broad and overwhelming scientific consensus that greenhouse gas pollution endangers public health and welfare." It was prompted by a U.S. Supreme Court decision that ordered the EPA to decide whether or not greenhouse gases really were a danger.
David A. Fahrenthold| December 17, 2009; 5:28 PM ET Save & Share:
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