House move promised against EPA's GHG endangerment finding

A US House Republican energy leader said he plans to introduce a resolution expressing disapproval of the Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas emission (GHG) endangerment finding.

Dec 18th, 2009

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Dec. 18 – A US House Republican energy leader said he plans to introduce a resolution expressing disapproval of the Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas emission (GHG) endangerment finding.

“EPA’s endangerment finding plainly was intended to make the president’s policies look good in advance of his visit to the Copenhagen global warming conference, not to advance any public good in America,” said Joe Barton (Tex.), the Energy and Commerce Committee’s ranking minority member. “But it also has policy implications that threaten serious damage to the economy for generations to come.”

He said the finding “accurately reflects the thousands of candid, outrageous e-mails that EPA’s allies in the global warming community sent to each other by demonstrating that public relations priorities, rather than straightforward science, are driving US policymaking on global warming, and nowhere did any demonstrate a whiff of concern for who pays the bill or how they earn their living.”

House GOP leaders said three committees’ ranking minority members, Darrell E. Issa (Calif.) of Oversight and Government Reform; F. James Sensenbrunner (Wis.) of Energy Independence and Global Warming; and LaMar S. Smith (Tex.) of Judiciary, back Barton’s effort, as does Ralph M. Hall (Tex.), who also is on the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Barton’s announcement came 3 days after Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alas.), the Energy and Commerce Committee’s ranking minority member, said she planned to file a disapproval resolution aimed at keeping EPA from regulating GHGs under the Clean Air Act as a consequence of its Dec. 7 endangerment finding (OGJ Online, Dec. 16, 2009).

Boxer responds
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) expressed her own disapproval–of the Republicans’ plans.

“Debating over policy about unchecked global warming is fair, but repealing an endangerment finding based upon years of work by America’s leading scientists and public health experts is radical in the extreme,” she said. 17. “I am urging my colleagues to distance themselves from these dissenters and not to interfere with the independent work of scientists and public health experts from both the Bush and Obama administrations.”

EPA issued its finding after conducting a study in response to a 2007 US Supreme Court ruling that GHGs fit within the Clean Air Act’s definition of pollutants. The finding does not impose any emissions reduction requirements by itself but does allow the agency to finalize GHG standards for new light-duty vehicles as part of a joint rulemaking earlier this year with the US Department of Transportation.

Barton suggested the finding would do much more. “Everyone also understands that [it] is supposed to prod Congress into resuscitating cap-and-trade legislation that is dying from overexposure to public scrutiny,” he said.

He said the policy envisioned by the Obama administration would take “money out of the pockets of those lucky to have jobs so that radical environmentalists can wage a war against nature.”

GOP leaders applaud
House GOP leaders applauded the four lawmakers’ plans. “Republicans stand united against this EPA ruling because it is a job-killer,” Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio) said.

“The recent EPA decision to treat the air we exhale as a dangerous pollutant will hurt families and small businesses,” added Republican Conference Leader Mike Pence (Ohio.

But Boxer said efforts to stop EPA are misguided. “Republicans are using scare tactics and false economic arguments to support this effort,” she said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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