Sen. Barrasso introduces bill prohibiting federal agencies from regulating greenhouse gases

Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming introduced legislation Monday afternoon that would prohibit federal agencies from regulating greenhouse gases without a direct mandate from Congress.

The Defending America’s Affordable Energy and Jobs Act seeks to stop bureaucracies from unilaterally passing economically unsound regulations for the sole purpose of addressing climate change. It has seven co-sponsors, including Republican Sens. Mike Enzi of Wyoming, James Inhofe of Oklahoma and John Thune of South Dakota.

“It’s time for the administration to face the facts: Americans rejected cap and trade because they know it means higher energy prices and lost jobs,” said Barrasso in a statement.  “Washington agencies are now trying a backdoor approach to regulate our climate by abusing existing laws.  Congress must step in and stand up for the American people.”

Barrasso’s bill is the first to be introduced in the Senate this year to fight back against the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new regulations on carbon dioxide emissions. Senate Republicans have also been working closely with Republican Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan to craft a coordinated strategy to at least delay implementation of the rules.

Upton serves as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“My bill will shrink Washington’s job crushing agenda and grow America’s economy.  I will do whatever it takes to ensure that Washington doesn’t impose cap and trade policies in any form,” said Barrasso.

Despite wide Republican support, however, passage of Barrasso’s legislation will depend largely on whether moderate Democrats support it.