US Congress moves to block EPA rules on greenhouse gases

02 February 2011 19:00  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--Republican members of the US House and Senate will introduce a bill on Wednesday that would bar the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG), their offices said.

Congressman Fred Upton (Republican-Michigan), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, was to jointly issue the proposed legislation on Wednesday with Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Inhofe’s spokesman said that the bill would “prohibit the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act” (CAA).

“The bill is a narrowly drawn, targeted solution that prevents the Clean Air Act from being transformed into a regulatory vehicle to impose a cap-and-trade energy tax,” the spokesman said.

“The Obama administration will not be allowed to regulate what it has been unable to legislate,” the spokesman added.

He was referring to the 2009-2010 effort to pass a comprehensive climate change bill in Congress that would have imposed increasing limits on US emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases.

Although the US House narrowly approved a climate change bill in mid-2009, the measure never got any serious traction in the Senate.

Instead, the EPA issued regulations under the Clean Air Act that, beginning this year, would restrict GHG emissions by US factories, refineries, power plants and other industrial facilities.

Those regulations have been strongly opposed by the US chemicals and refining industries and a broad array of other manufacturers who fear the rules would drive electric power costs up sharply, force the shutdown of production facilities and aggravate unemployment.

The EPA's plans to restrict emissions of greenhouse gases also are the target of multiple lawsuits by state governments and industrial groups.

The Upton-Inhofe bill would be joining a half-dozen other measures introduced in recent days by Republicans and at least one Democrat member that would, in one fashion or another, delay or bar EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gases.

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