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Public Statements

SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, with gas prices on the rise, Americans want to know what Washington is going to do about it. So let me provide a little update: The White House has responded by locking up domestic energy supplies and pushing an energy tax that will drive gas prices up even higher and Democrats in Congress aren't doing anything at all.

So we have a total disconnect right now between Democrats in Washington when it comes to gas prices. Both the White House and Democrats in Congress are acting as if they haven't seen a nightly newscast or driven by a gas station in weeks.

Senator Inhofe, Senator Murkowski, and Senator Barrasso have done a terrific job of raising the alarm on the administration's efforts to lock up domestic energy, even as it continues to push costly new regulations at the Environmental Protection Agency. I wish to commend them for their efforts on this most important and timely issue. They have shown how American families are getting a double whammy right now. Refiners would pass the costs related to these regulations on to consumers, and the White House's efforts to lock up domestic energy production puts even more pressure on gas prices.

If you are just tuning in, let's review what the White House has been up to on that front: They have resisted our push for American production offshore, onshore and in Alaska and the jobs that go along with it. They have canceled existing drilling permits and the jobs that come with them. They have needlessly delayed offshore leases, which even former President Clinton has referred to as ridiculous. They have imposed a moratorium on oil and gas drilling, which amounts to a moratorium on domestic energy-related jobs. They have proposed a tax on domestic energy production that might be called a ``minivan tax.'' Now they are trying to impose a backdoor national energy tax through the EPA.

It is a strange way to respond to rising gas prices. But it is perfectly consistent with the current Energy Secretary's previously stated desire to get gas prices in the United States up to where they are in Europe.

These new regulations would destroy jobs at a time when Americans need them the most, and they would be especially devastating for States such as Kentucky and other coal States. EPA regulations resulting in dramatic energy price increases would jeopardize the livelihoods of the 18,000 miners in Kentucky and the additional 200,000 jobs that depend on coal production and the low cost of electricity that Kentuckians enjoy.

They would raise the price of everything from electricity, gasoline, fertilizer, to the food we eat, and that is why farmers, builders, manufacturers, small businesses, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce oppose them and support an effort to stop them.

But the White House is determined to get its way, and that is why they are attempting to do through regulation what they couldn't do through legislation regardless of whether the American people want it. In my view, it is an insult to the millions of Americans who are already struggling to make ends meet and to find a job.

Fourteen million Americans are looking for work, gas prices are approaching $4 a gallon, and the Obama administration wants unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats to impose new regulations that will destroy even more jobs and drive gas prices even higher.

If you want proof that common sense is taking a backseat to ideology in the White House, look no further: This plan is bad for jobs and bad for the economy and it must be stopped. That is why, at the end of my remarks, I will be introducing an amendment to block it.

In an effort to prevent the administration from adding yet another burdensome, job-destroying regulation through the backdoor, we will have a vote on whether, at a time of rising gas prices and growing concern about the scope of government, we should allow the White House to impose new energy regulations through the EPA.

This vote is needed because the White House appears ready to advance its goal by any means possible, regardless of our economy or the will of the people. That is why it is my hope we will vote to stop this power grab in its tracks.

I wish to, in particular, give credit to Senator Inhofe. This is legislation he has introduced and has been promoting. It is exactly the same legislation that is moving over in the House of Representatives, and it is time the Senate took a stand on this measure as well.

Mr. President, I believe there is an amendment pending.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. There is.

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the pending amendment be temporarily set aside, and I send an amendment to the desk.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.

The bill clerk read as follows:

The Senator from Kentucky [Mr. McConnell] proposes an amendment No. 183.

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the reading of the amendment be dispensed with.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

The amendment is as follows:
(Purpose: To prohibit the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from promulgating any regulation concerning, taking action relating to, or taking into consideration the emission of a greenhouse gas to address climate change)

At the end, add the following:


TITLE VI--ENERGY TAX PREVENTION

SEC. 601. SHORT TITLE.

This title may be cited as the ``Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011''.

SEC. 602. NO REGULATION OF EMISSIONS OF GREENHOUSE GASES.

(a) In General.--Title III of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7601 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

``SEC. 330. NO REGULATION OF EMISSIONS OF GREENHOUSE GASES.

``(a) Definition.--In this section, the term `greenhouse gas' means any of the following:

``(1) Water vapor.

``(2) Carbon dioxide.

``(3) Methane.

``(4) Nitrous oxide.

``(5) Sulfur hexafluoride.

``(6) Hydrofluorocarbons.

``(7) Perfluorocarbons.

``(8) Any other substance subject to, or proposed to be subject to, regulation, action, or consideration under this Act to address climate change.

``(b) Limitation on Agency Action.--

``(1) LIMITATION.--

``(A) IN GENERAL.--The Administrator may not, under this Act, promulgate any regulation concerning, take action relating to, or take into consideration the emission of a greenhouse gas to address climate change.

``(B) AIR POLLUTANT DEFINITION.--The definition of the term `air pollutant' in section 302(g) does not include a greenhouse gas. Nothwithstanding the previous sentence, such definition may include a greenhouse gas for purposes of addressing concerns other than climate change.

``(2) EXCEPTIONS.--Paragraph (1) does not prohibit the following:

``(A) Notwithstanding paragraph (4)(B), implementation and enforcement of the rule entitled `Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards and Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards' (75 Fed. Reg. 25324 (May 7, 2010) and without further revision) and finalization, implementation, enforcement, and revision of the proposed rule entitled `Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles' published at 75 Fed. Reg. 74152 (November 30, 2010).

``(B) Implementation and enforcement of section 211(o).

``(C) Statutorily authorized Federal research, development, and demonstration programs addressing climate change.

``(D) Implementation and enforcement of title VI to the extent such implementation or enforcement only involves one or more class I or class II substances (as such terms are defined in section 601).

``(E) Implementation and enforcement of section 821 (42 U.S.C. 7651k note) of Public Law 101-549 (commonly referred to as the `Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990').

``(3) INAPPLICABILITY OF PROVISIONS.--Nothing listed in paragraph (2) shall cause a greenhouse gas to be subject to part C of title I (relating to prevention of significant deterioration of air quality) or considered an air pollutant for purposes of title V (relating to air permits).

``(4) CERTAIN PRIOR AGENCY ACTIONS.--The following rules, and actions (including any supplement or revision to such rules and actions) are repealed and shall have no legal effect:

``(A) `Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases', published at 74 Fed. Reg. 56260 (October 30, 2009).

``(B) `Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act' published at 74 Fed. Reg. 66496 (Dec. 15, 2009).

``(C) `Reconsideration of the Interpretation of Regulations That Determine Pollutants Covered by Clean Air Act Permitting Programs' published at 75 Fed. Reg. 17004 (April 2, 2010) and the memorandum from Stephen L. Johnson, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, to EPA Regional Administrators, concerning `EPA's Interpretation of Regulations that Determine Pollutants Covered by Federal Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) Permit Program' (Dec. 18, 2008).

``(D) `Prevention of Significant Deterioration and Title V Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule', published at 75 Fed. Reg. 31514 (June 3, 2010).

``(E) `Action To Ensure Authority To Issue Permits Under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration Program to Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Finding of Substantial Inadequacy and SIP Call', published at 75 Fed. Reg. 77698 (December 13, 2010).

``(F) `Action to Ensure Authority to Issue Permits Under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration Program to Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Finding of Failure to Submit State Implementation Plan Revisions Required for Greenhouse Gases', published at 75 Fed. Reg. 81874 (December 29, 2010).

``(G) `Action To Ensure Authority To Issue Permits Under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration Program to Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Federal Implementation Plan', published at 75 Fed. Reg. 82246 (December 30, 2010).

``(H) `Action To Ensure Authority To Implement Title V Permitting Programs Under the Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule', published at 75 Fed. Reg. 82254 (December 30, 2010).

``(I) `Determinations Concerning Need for Error Correction, Partial Approval and Partial Disapproval, and Federal Implementation Plan Regarding Texas Prevention of Significant Deterioration Program', published at 75 Fed. Reg. 82430 (December 30, 2010).

``(J) `Limitation of Approval of Prevention of Significant Deterioration Provisions Concerning Greenhouse Gas Emitting-Sources in State Implementation Plans; Final Rule', published at 75 Fed. Reg. 82536 (December 30, 2010).

``(K) `Determinations Concerning Need for Error Correction, Partial Approval and Partial Disapproval, and Federal Implementation Plan Regarding Texas Prevention of Significant Deterioration Program; Proposed Rule', published at 75 Fed. Reg. 82365 (December 30, 2010).

``(L) Except for action listed in paragraph (2), any other Federal action under this Act occurring before the date of enactment of this section that applies a stationary source permitting requirement or an emissions standard for a greenhouse gas to address climate change.

``(5) STATE ACTION.--

``(A) NO LIMITATION.--This section does not limit or otherwise affect the authority of a State to adopt, amend, enforce, or repeal State laws and regulations pertaining to the emission of a greenhouse gas.

``(B) EXCEPTION.--

``(i) RULE.--Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), any provision described in clause (ii)--

``(I) is not federally enforceable;

``(II) is not deemed to be a part of Federal law; and

``(III) is deemed to be stricken from the plan described in clause (ii)(I) or the program or permit described in clause (ii)(II), as applicable.

``(ii) PROVISIONS DEFINED.--For purposes of clause (i), the term `provision' means any provision that--

``(I) is contained in a State implementation plan under section 110 and authorizes or requires a limitation on, or imposes a permit requirement for, the emission of a greenhouse gas to address climate change; or

``(II) is part of an operating permit program under title V, or a permit issued pursuant to title V, and authorizes or requires a limitation on the emission of a greenhouse gas to address climate change.

``(C) ACTION BY ADMINISTRATOR.--The Administrator may not approve or make federally enforceable any provision described in subparagraph (B)(ii).''.

SEC. 603. PRESERVING ONE NATIONAL STANDARD FOR AUTOMOBILES.

Section 209(b) of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7543) is amended by adding at the end the following:

``(4) With respect to standards for emissions of greenhouse gases (as defined in section 330) for model year 2017 or any subsequent model year for new motor vehicles and new motor vehicle engines--

``(A) the Administrator may not waive application of subsection (a); and

``(B) no waiver granted prior to the date of enactment of this paragraph may be considered to waive the application of subsection (a).''.

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