U.S. Senators Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) joined Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) in introducing the Defending America's Affordable Energy and Jobs Act (S. 228). The bill aims to stop Washington bureaucrats, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), from regulating greenhouse gases for the purpose of addressing climate change without specific Congressional authorization. In December 2009, then-Congressman Moran was the first member of the House of Representatives to introduce legislation to prevent EPA regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.
"This legislation sends a clear message to the White House and the EPA that Congress will not sit idly by as the administration continues to impose regulations detrimental to our country's economic recovery," Sen. Roberts said. "As our national unemployment rate continues to hover around 10 percent, it makes little sense for the EPA to move forward with onerous carbon mitigation regulations that will cost utilities, small businesses and farmers millions of dollars in compliance costs, which are often passed on to the consumer, while doing nothing to reduce global temperatures."
"The Obama Administration's backdoor climate regulations will undercut efforts to create jobs and further erode America's global competitiveness -- especially in the agriculture and energy sectors," said Sen. Moran. "The last thing Americans need is a national energy tax that would kill more jobs. The Clean Air Act was never intended to regulate greenhouse gases, and the EPA must be stopped from making decisions that circumvent Congress. We should do everything we can to create jobs and grow our economy -- that includes stopping unelected bureaucrats from raising energy costs and using regulatory red tape to raise taxes and increase government intrusion into the lives of Americans."
The Defending America's Affordable Energy and Jobs Act restores the role of the U.S. Congress in the development and implementation of the nation's climate and energy policy. The legislation pre-empts existing and prohibits future federal restrictions on greenhouse gases, when related to climate change, in the absence of explicit Congressional authorization. This includes mandatory requirements that may stem not only from applications of the Clean Air Act, but also the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act.
The bill also precludes legal action against sources of greenhouse gasses solely based on their possible contribution to climate change.
There are two exceptions: 1) Regulations for mobile sources such as cars and trucks will continue, but those regulations will now be managed by the Department of Transportation, not EPA. 2) Any greenhouse gas that is a direct threat to human health because of direct exposure to that gas could still be regulated, as long as it is not solely based on climate change. This provision would ensure that polluters of health threatening gases would still be held accountable under the law.
The bill does not preempt states from enacting greenhouse gas or climate change mandates.
The Defending America's Affordable Energy and Jobs Act has been endorsed by Americans for Tax Reform, Americans for Prosperity, the Western Business Roundtable, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Freedom Action and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.