Senate narrowly defeats Murkowski's EPA disapproval resolution

The US Senate narrowly defeated a resolution by Lisa Murkowski (R-Alas.) aimed at halting the US Environmental Protection Agency’s effort to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, June 11 -- The US Senate narrowly defeated a resolution by Lisa Murkowski (R-Alas.) aimed at halting the US Environmental Protection Agency’s effort to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Six Democrats joined all of the Senate’s Republicans in supporting the measure, which lost by 47 to 53 votes.

“I had hopes, for the security of our economy, that we would prevail today,” Murkowski said following the June 10 vote on whether to consider the resolution. “But regardless of the outcome, I believe it’s important that every member of the Senate is on the record on whether they think the EPA regulation is the appropriate way to address climate issues.”

EPA began formulating regulations to limit GHG emissions after the US Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that it had the authority to do so. Murkowski, who is the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s ranking minority member, and others in Congress have said that this should be handled legislatively. She introduced her disapproval resolution on Jan. 21 after EPA issued a finding on Dec. 7 that GHGs pose a significant danger to human health and the environment.

“Opponents and supporters of this resolution should agree on one thing: It is the Senate’s job to put American on the path to a clean energy future,” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said. “Instead of challenging EPA’s authority to keep the air clean and reduce global warming pollution, the Senate must challenge itself to take responsibility and pass strong, comprehensive climate and energy legislation this year and end our oil dependence.”

In a statement following the resolution’s defeat, the American Petroleum Institute reiterated that the CAA was never intended to address climate change because it was designed to address traditional pollution sources. “EPA’s approach could not only discourage investments in domestic oil and gas projects—limiting US production and increasing import dependence—but it is also likely to delay business expansion, hurt job creation and throw state economies into slow motion as they are inundated with added permitting work,” it warned.

API urged the Senate to quickly consider a resolution by US Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) which would delay EPA’s rulemaking process for two years so Congress would have time to address the climate change issue.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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