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Public Statements

Resolution Of Disapproval Of EPA Rule-Motion To Proceed

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mrs. McCASKILL. Mr. President, today, we are going to be voting on a significant yet controversial resolution introduced by Senator Murkowski. This resolution, S.J. Res. 26, squarely confronts the issue of how the United States will address the issue of climate change and the regulation of greenhouse gases. The resolution speaks directly to whether or not the Environmental Protection Agency should be allowed to regulate sources of greenhouse gases. This is an important issue for the U.S. Senate to address.

In short, the Murkowski resolution disapproves of EPA's recent endangerment finding that greenhouse gases are a threat to public health. This rule is a result of a 2007 Supreme Court ruling directing EPA to make a determination as to whether or not greenhouse gases are a public endangerment. After 2 years of consideration of the scientific evidence, the EPA found that six greenhouse gases are a threat to public health. Senator Murkowski's resolution would nullify this decision.

While I am sympathetic to the concerns raised by Senator Murkowski, the impact of her resolution would be, among other things, to negate the significant progress the EPA has made in increasing fuel economy standards for vehicles. For that reason I am unable to support it.

Instead, I am working with my colleague, Senator Rockefeller, to pass his bill, S. 3072, of which I am a cosponsor, to preserve the EPA's ability to regulate emissions from vehicles but allow the Congress an additional 2 years to address the regulation of all other sources of greenhouse gases.

Like, Senator Murkowski, I believe that the best way to address climate change is to allow Congress time to pass comprehensive legislation, not rely on regulations handed down by the EPA. A legislative approach would allow us to mitigate what likely would result from EPA regulation of stationary sources: unfair cost increases that will be borne by millions of Americans who have no choice but to rely on energy produced from coal. This is my biggest concern, as eighty-five percent of the energy produced in Missouri comes from coal.

I have long stated that I cannot support an approach to greenhouse gases regulation that will unfairly impact Missourians or unduly harm Missouri's small businesses just because they happen to be in a state that is largely reliant on coal energy. Unfortunately, while the resolution offered by Senator Murkowski is an attempt to give Congress greater time to address these types of concerns in any climate regulation, it also negates a historic agreement between the EPA and the auto industry. This goes too far.

Last year, in an unprecedented announcement, the auto industry agreed to allow the federal government to set new standards for vehicle emissions and worked in concert with the government to set these new standards. This was a model of effective, reasonable negotiated rulemaking and should be embraced, not negated. These new standards will reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil by a projected 1.8 billion barrels, while providing real benefits for consumers. Compared with today's vehicles, a family purchasing a vehicle under the new standards will save, on average, more than $3,000 on fuel costs over the life of that vehicle. If the Congress passes Senator Murkowski's resolution, it will effectively eliminate these new standards. I believe it would be a mistake to jeopardize the progress we have made with the auto industry, lose the consumer benefits of increased fuel economy and lose the benefit to our national security of reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

This is why I am working with Senator Rockefeller to pass his alternative approach to delay EPA regulation of all other sources of greenhouse gases for 2 years. I believe this is a better option that will not unfairly penalize Missourians. I look forward to working with Senator Rockefeller, as well as Leaders REID and MCCONNELL to secure a vote on this very important legislation.


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