US House panel approves bill to block EPA climate rules

10 March 2011 20:20  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--A House subcommittee on Thursday approved legislation that would bar the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating US industrial emissions of greenhouse gases.

The House Subcommittee on Energy and Power approved the “Energy Tax Prevention Act", HR-910, in a voice vote.

The bill would now go to the full House Committee on Energy and Commerce, where it was expected to pass. Approval by the full House of Representatives also was expected, perhaps within weeks.

The House bill and a companion measure in the Senate, S-482, would bar the EPA “from promulgating any regulation concerning, taking action relating to, or taking into consideration the emission of a greenhouse gas to address climate change”.

The bills would add language to the Clean Air Act (CAA) to make clear that the EPA does not have authority to impose limits on US industrial or transportation emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) or other greenhouse gases (GHG).

If approved by Congress, the bills essentially would undo controversial regulations that the agency issued last year.

Under rules that went into effect on 2 January this year, the EPA has required electric utilities, refineries, petrochemical plants and other major production facilities to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and five other greenhouse gases.

Those rules have been strongly opposed by the US chemicals sector and broad range of other manufacturing, business and agricultural interests.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) hailed the subcommittee vote, saying it was Congress, not the EPA, that should decide US climate policy.

“We are pleased to see this legislation moving forward to prevent EPA from imposing excessive and burdensome regulations that could raise energy costs and harm our fragile economic recovery,” said Marty Durbin, API executive vice president.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) and the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA) were among 17 trade associations that on Wednesday had urged the subcommittee to approve the bill.

In the Senate, the bill’s principal sponsor, Senator James Inhofe (Republican-Oklahoma), was quoted as saying that he has two Democrat senators who will vote for the measure, which would bring the number of Senate supporters to 45 in the 100-seat chamber.

However, even if the bills are approved by the House and the Senate, President Barack Obama has earlier indicated that he would veto such a measure.

Paul Hodges studies key influencers shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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