Monday, January 31, 2011

Top Republicans craft strategy to fight EPA’s expanding regulatory reach

Top Republicans in the House and Senate are in the middle of crafting a plan to stop unprecedented regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of carbon dioxide emissions, but confusion abounds the details. Republicans bent on stopping the rules face key challenges — including the threat of a presidential veto on any legislation they pass and uncertainty over a prospective budget fight in March. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton met with Senate Environment and Public Works Committee ranking member Sen. James Inhofe on Wednesday to discuss potential legislation that Upton would introduce in the House, where Republicans hold a majority. The meeting, one of a series the two officials have been holding to coordinate House and Senate strategy on the issue, did not appear to result in any significant progress. “I’m sorry, I can’t tell you anything about the meeting,” said Inhofe spokesman Matt Dempsey. The legislation the two are discussing would likely remove greenhouse gasses from the EPA’s reach under the Clean Air Act. For now, the EPA is claiming authority to regulate carbon under the Clean Air Act because of an “endangerment finding” in which the agency declared the emission to be harmful to society. Now, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is sprinting to finalize regulations to implement the endangerment finding that could have a major impact on American industry and economy. While Inhofe and Upton nail down legislation, one key issue yet unresolved by Republicans is what role the appropriations committees will play in the effort to take on EPA regulations. “No one knows if appropriations committee will do something to stop EPA first,” the top lobbyist for a major energy trade association told TheDC.

The article continues:

When the current continuing resolution (CR) – legislation that authorizes government spending at current levels – expires in March, Republicans will have to decide whether to take on the EPA by cutting off funding. In a new budget or spending bill, Congress could instruct the EPA not to spend any money on implementing global warming regulations. If the GOP is unsuccessful in March, insiders say a “clean” CR is likely. That means spending will not change and the EPA will be able to continue regulating until at least the end of this fiscal year.

That is the same strategy I previously posted could be used to defund Secretarial Order 3310 on Wildlands Policy.

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