Politics

Sen. Barrasso to introduce legislation to block Environmental Protection Agency

Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming plans to introduce legislation Monday to preempt the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) plan to regulate carbon emissions, The Daily Caller has learned. It is the latest move by congressional Republicans who view the agency’s rules as a backdoor attempt to implement a cap and trade system.

“Barrasso’s bill stops this backdoor attempt to enact Obama’s cap-and-trade agenda through EPA and the rest of the federal bureaucracy,” said Barrasso spokesperson Emily Lawrimore. “The Barrasso bill restates and reaffirms the will of Congress as the sole authority over federal climate change policy.”

The bill, however, will go beyond just blocking the EPA. It will stop all federal agencies from implementing new energy taxes that could have a negative effect on employment and energy costs.

Barrasso’s bill builds off an amendment introduced last spring by then-Ohio Republican Sen. George Voinovich that would have blocked the EPA and individual U.S. states from regulating greenhouse gases.

While Voinovich’s amendment and the climate bill it was attached to never passed, Barrasso has used the Voinovich amendment as a template for his standalone bill. According to Lawrimore, the specifics of the bill are still being worked out.

Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, ranking member on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, also worked on crafting the legislation with Barrasso to stop the EPA*.  And According to Inhofe spokesperson Matt Dempsey, the senator is working closely with Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, to coordinate a strategy as well.

While the Republican-controlled House could easily pass a full preemption bill, things will be harder in the Senate. Any success in passing a bill in the Senate will likely come down to persuading moderate Democrats to support it.

*This article has been corrected to reflect the fact that Sen. James Inhofe worked with Sen. Barrasso on his bill. The article previously stated Inhofe was only working with Rep. Upton.