Representatives Nick J.Rahall (WV) and Rick Boucher (VA) today reiterated their strong support for legislation they introduced in March to suspend for two years action by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in response to the Senate's rejection of a measure authored by Senator Lisa Murkowski (D-Alaska) to permanently strip EPA of that regulatory authority. Rahall and Boucher's measure is entitled the Stationary Source Regulations Delay Act. A companion measure has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Jay Rockefeller (D-WV).
"The brakes need to be put on the EPA's headlong rush to regulate carbon emissions from coal-powered plants. Today's defeat of the Murkowski disapproval resolution should not be the end of Congressional efforts to rein in EPA and secure the future of coal and the affordable energy it provides to American families. Congressman Boucher and I are prepared to press ahead with our own resolution to put control back into the hands of the People's elected representatives," Rahall said.
"While the Murkowski approach stripping EPA of authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions failed, the broad support it received reflects the reality that it is better for Congress to draft its own comprehensive program than it is for EPA to impose regulations. The measure I have introduced with Rep. Rahall will prevent the EPA from acting for two years, providing Congress time to approve a thoughtful regulatory program," Boucher said.
The Stationary Source Regulations Delay Act would delay for two years EPA action with regard to carbon dioxide or methane regulations for stationary sources, while allowing the consensus mobile sources regulations to move forward.
"EPA regulation of greenhouse gases would be the worst outcome for the coal industry and coal related jobs; however, while some may prefer to halt EPA action permanently, it is now clear that the votes do not exist in the Senate or the House to remove all EPA regulatory authority. Our bill is a responsible, achievable approach which prevents the EPA from enacting regulations that would harm coal and gives Congress time to establish a balanced program. By structuring the measure in this manner, we are seeking to find a responsible middle ground that can be enacted," Boucher said.
Following the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that greenhouse gases are a pollutant, the Environmental Protection Agency is now legally compelled to regulate greenhouse gases under the existing Clean Air Act. That law is not well suited for such action since it disables EPA from taking into account the unique needs of the coal industry and electric utilities that burn coal.
"Our measure would give Congress time to approve a balanced approach before EPA acts with costly regulations," Rahall and Boucher concluded.