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Importance of Abundant Energy

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. PALMER. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Pennsylvania (Mr. Rothfus), and I want to commend my colleague and friend, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Kelly), for his eloquent and passionate defense of constitutional government.

It is not just the administration's efforts here to ratify something and bypass Congress without any input from us, but they are also making laws through agencies, such as the EPA. We are engaged right now in a debate over the Clean Power Plan, which is a reiteration of cap-and-trade. It is all about regulating greenhouse gases. They have started this process because in 2007, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, said that the Clean Air Act gave the EPA the authority to regulate greenhouse emissions. Not everyone agrees with that.

As you see here on the easel, I have a quote from former Representative John Dingell. This is what he had to say about the Supreme Court's decision in EPA v. Massachusetts. He said:

``Like most members of this committee, I think the Supreme Court came up with a very much erroneous decision on whether the Clean Air Act covers greenhouse gases. Like many of the members of this committee I was present when we wrote that legislation. We thought it was clear enough that we didn't clarify it, thinking that even the Supreme Court was not stupid enough to make that finding.''

I want to state for the record, Mr. Speaker, that I am in no way making personal references to the members of the Court, particularly the five who voted for that decision. That is Mr. Dingell's opinion. But I think it is clear that it was never Congress' intent to allow the EPA to do this.

The point here is that we have had a debate over regulating greenhouse gases. We did that in 2010 in the form of the cap-and-trade bill. And Congress, with Democrat majorities in both Houses, said ``no.'' Yet the President is intent on making the United States a party to a legally-binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that will have almost no measurable impact on global temperatures. The EPA has admitted that in testimony before the Science Committee.

This is basically a public relations effort to encourage other nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. As Mr. Rothfus has pointed out, the cost on the American economy, and particularly on low-income families, will be enormous. Also, on single-income households and senior citizens.

Even the former lead author of the International Panel on Climate Change, Philip Lloyd, asserted in a new paper that there is strong likelihood that the major portion of observed warming is due to natural variation. If it is due to natural variation, there is little to nothing that we can do about it.

Congress has been bypassed by the EPA and other Federal agencies for too long. Is time to stand up and reassert ourselves as the sole body empowered to make law under the Constitution.

The debate over greenhouse gases and climate change is not the central issue. This is really about the EPA and this administration usurping the authority of Congress to make a law.

As my friend from Pennsylvania (Mr. Kelly) explained, the issue is that the authority of Congress, and consequently the right of American citizens to representation and the making of our Nation's laws is being seriously diminished.

Under our Constitution, Congress makes the law and is held accountable by the people through elections. The effort to restrain the EPA is more than a policy position on an issue, but a matter of fidelity to the Constitution and the clear separation of powers doctrine that is essential to the successful functioning of our government.

As the people's elected Representatives, and I want to emphasize it is elected Representatives, not elected bystanders, it should be one of our top priorities to reassert Congress as the originator of law and reestablish congressional accountability for the regulations issued by Federal agencies, by requiring a vote on the regulations that have a significant impact on the economy. This would have a devastating impact on the economy. By doing so, not only will the economy benefit, but the Representative and accountable government will be restored in the process.

I urge all my colleagues to support my friend from Pennsylvania's resolution to require that the President submit any agreement reached in Paris to the Senate for their advice and consent.

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