Senate vote upholds EPA power to regulate greenhouse gases

Washington, D.C., June 11, 2010 — The U.S. Senate defeated a resolution Thursday that would have prevented the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating carbon dioxide and equivalent greenhouse gases under the authority of the Clean Air Act.

The bill won 47 votes, short of the 51 votes needed to pass. Six Democrats joined all 41 Republicans in voting for the resolution. There were 53 Democrats who voted against the resolution.

Sponsored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, (R-Alaska), the resolution would have overturned the EPA’s endangerment finding on carbon, which held that the greenhouse gas is a threat to public health and therefore is subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act.

The EPA has issued regulations based on that finding requiring higher fuel efficiency and lower greenhouse gas emissions in vehicles. The agency also proposed requiring permits from large stationary sources of greenhouse gases specifying what technologies they will use to cut emissions.

Supporters of Murkowski’s resolution said the EPA overstepped its authority in applying the Clean Air Act to greenhouse gas regulation. They contend Congress, not EPA, should decide how greenhouse gases are to be regulated.

Legislation capping carbon emissions has been pending in Congress for years. Most Republicans have opposed these bills.

Some businesses, including major electric utilities such as Duke Energy Corp., support the bill introduced by Sens. John Kerry, (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman, (I-Conn.). They say it will provide the industry with the regulatory certainty they need to do business.

 

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