Senate vote: Should EPA have authority to regulate greenhouse gases?
A resolution aims to stop the EPA's plan to start regulating greenhouse gases from the largest smokestack sources next year. The vote on it could signal the chances for an energy-climate bill.
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Environmentalists have gone to the mat fighting Murkowski's resolution. Anything close to Senate passage, they say, could sabotage the Obama administration’s hope of winning the 60 Senate votes necessary for passage of a comprehensive bill.Skip to next paragraph
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"This is a very bad proposal, and it would be bad to have it succeed anywhere, even if it could never become law," says David Doniger, policy director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's climate center.
But the notion of letting the EPA regulate carbon emissions has been anathema to many in Congress– not just Republicans, but coal-state Democrats as well. On a broader level, add in the coal, utility, and oil and gas industries, not to mention manufacturers and the US Chamber of Commerce. Industry think tanks dubbed the EPA's steps a "power grab."
Going into the vote, Murkowski and her 41 supporters could be short of the 51 votes needed for approval. The question is: What will swing Democrats from coal states, the two Republican senators from Maine (Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe), and the new Massachusetts senator (Republican Scott Brown) do?
West Virginia Sen. John Rockefeller (D) announced his support for the Murkowski measure earlier this week.
Absent the passage of a comprehensive energy-climate bill, fossil fuel will continue to appear cheap and undercut the president's hoped-for shift toward renewable energy. The Senate vote Thursday is a kind of straw vote that could set the stage for – or torpedo – further action on energy-climate legislation this year.
- Climate-energy bill debuts in Senate, but prospects are dim
- John Rockefeller leads charge against EPA on greenhouse gases
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