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Environment

Climate Change: Republicans In Congress Move To Limit EPA's Authority Over CO2

by Jeff Johnson
March 8, 2010 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 88, ISSUE 10

A resolution that could block EPA from using the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions was introduced by 85 Republican members of the House of Representatives last week. A similar resolution has also been introduced in the Senate with some 40 cosponsors.

The resolutions come in response to a decision last year by EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson that the agency has authority to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from vehicles and stationary sources (C&EN, Dec. 14, 2009, page 7). With climate-change legislation stuck in the Senate, the Obama Administration had turned to its authority under the Clean Air Act to issue regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

“We want to send a very clear signal that what EPA has done is wrong and it should be overturned by the elected members of the House and the Senate,” said resolution cosponsor Joe Barton (R-Texas), in a statement.

If passed, the resolutions, by using provisions in the Congressional Review Act, could nullify EPA’s determination that greenhouse gases threaten public health and therefore merit regulation under the air act. However, all but a few supporters are Republicans, making passage particularly difficult in the House, and any bill would face a likely presidential veto.

Only a week earlier, Jackson announced that EPA would put off regulations for stationary sources of greenhouse gases until 2011 and later (C&EN, March 1, page 14). For motor vehicles, however, EPA intends to issue regulations in April.

Both House and Senate Republicans hope to bring their resolutions up for a vote this month.

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