Washington, D.C., March 4, 2011 — The U.S. House and Senate have introduced legislation that would permanently strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
The bills were introduced by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R — MI) and Senate Environment and Public Works Ranking Member James Inhofe (R — OK). The bills are titled "The Energy Tax Prevention Act."
The bills would effectively block the agency from acting on a Supreme Court ruling that concluded it could regulate emissions under the existing Clean Air Act.
The legislation has garnered some support from Democrats who represent coal-producing states, for example Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller, both Democratic senators from West Virginia.
The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity praised the proposed legislation, saying it would ensure the authority to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases rests with Congress, and not the EPA.
"The EPA's sweeping regulations will affect the lives of millions of Americans, from their electricity bills to the economy as a whole. Given this wide-ranging impact, it is important that Congress — not the EPA — address greenhouse gas emissions in a manner that takes into consideration both environmental and economic impacts," said Steve Miller, president and CEO of ACCCE.
The ACCCE said that the EPA's proposed regulations on greenhouse gas emissions could have a dramatic impact on jobs and the economy.
The Natural Resources Defense Council said the bills would put both public health and the economy at risk.
“This proposal to block the EPA from updating health protections is only the latest example of an overreach by some lawmakers. They could not be more out of touch with the American people, as a panoply of recent polls demonstrate. No one who cares about our health, the health of the economy and the health of our planet should support this bill,” said David Doniger, policy director of NRDC’s Climate Center.
The Obama administration has indicated that the president would veto any legislation that threatens the EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases should a bill make it to his desk.