EPA bill passes key House subcommittee test

Lawmakers approved a bill to block Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations on carbon dioxide emissions in a key House subcommittee, Thursday.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee voted in favor of the bill with a voice vote along party lines. No amendments were offered, and so far there is no word on when the full committee and House will take up the measure.

In the debate leading up to the vote, Republicans attempted to frame the legislation as a measure that would stop job-killing regulations they argue contribute to high gas prices. Democrats, on the other hand, blasted the bill, calling it extreme, and saying it would roll back reasonable EPA efforts to control dangerous greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

Tempers flared as the mark-up hearing was riddled with heated exchanges.

Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman of California, a long-time champion of legislation to combat global warming, repeatedly cited “strange” and “severe weather patterns” as a reason to allow the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide.

“History will not judge this committee kindly when we become the last bastion of science deniers,” said Waxman.

“In short it is anti-science, a know-nothing, do-nothing approach to the most challenging environmental problem of our time,” Waxman added.

Democratic Rep. Jay Inslee of Washington said the dangers of greenhouse gases are “uncontested science.”

“The single most dangerous allergy today is the Republican allergy to science,” said Inslee. “Since when is it American policy to crawl under the bed and ignore a problem?”

Democratic Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts openly mocked Republicans and said he’s worried they might try to “repeal the law of gravity” next, before calling the bill an “arbitrary rejection of science.”

Republicans, on the other hand, pushed their message that their attempt to stop EPA regulations is not about science, but rather, regulatory overreach.

Republican Rep. Brian Bilbray of California accused Democrats and the EPA of using regulations on carbon dioxide to “hijack the Clean Air Act.”

Republican Rep. Joe Barton of Texas reiterated that point, saying that the “EPA is on a political mission to regulate something that was never intended to be regulated.”

“[This bill] is a logical response to environmental overkill,” Barton added.

The bill, titled the Energy Tax Prevention Act, was authored by Reps. Fred Upton of Michigan, chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Greg Whitfield of Kentucky. It was introduced earlier this month with a bipartisan list of cosponsors, including Democratic Reps. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Nick Rahall of West Virginia. Among other things, it will permanently do away with the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources.

Though the legislation is expected to easily pass the House, the coinciding bill in the Senate will have a harder time passing. The Senate is expected to mark up their version in April.

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  • Kurtis D. Davis

    At what point does EPA regulation stop being pollution management, and become regulation of commerce? In theory, EPA is a very good thing. But in current practice, it is ruined by doomsday prophets, who advance psuedo science, with the potential to devastate our economy. What person in the EPA, so far as “global warming” is concerned, openly addresses the proven science of precessional motion—the repositioning of the polar regions? If the EPA is going to mandate enormous change, then why do they fail to put their money where their mouth is, and fund the changes they demand?

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    There is no chain of uncontested science being spoken of, by the Democrats. There are small clusters of links here and there that are certain, strung together by tenuous probabilistic claims. The probabilities are converted to certitude after one leavens these with ones political beliefs.

  • OldColdWarrior

    “The single most dangerous allergy today is the Republican allergy to science,” said Inslee. “Since when is it American policy to crawl under the bed and ignore a problem?”

    They sure don’t seem to feel that way when it comes to an energy policy or the spending crisis.

    (I don’t think of it as an “economic crisis”—it really is a spending issue.)

  • krjohnson

    I wish people would stop calling it *THE* Environmental Protection Agency. There are 51 Environmental Protection Agencies, the one most often described is the *FEDERAL* Environmental Protection Agency which is in almost all cases redundant to the State Environmental Protection Agencies.

    Except when they try to pull this global warming crap. Roll back the Federal EPA to nothing. It’s unnecessary.

  • SamAdams25

    There can be no question that the Obama administration is trying to bypass Congress on several issues using non elected bureaucrats. The Republicans are absolutely correct in their efforts to stop this constitutionally questionable practice.

    It sometimes appears that Obama believes that he was elected Emperor rather than President. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out he has an autographed picture of Hugo Chavez on his bedroom wall.

    • texasmamma

      you just reminded me of the 2008 presidential campaign — in obama’s Houston campaign headquarters, a picture of Che Guevara took pride of place on a wall in the main office.

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