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Friday, January 7, 2011

Both Sides of Congress to Introduce Legislation Blocking Enforcement of New EPA Climate Regulations

Despite Congress not being able to pass any environmental legislation over the past two years and public opinion being heavily against it, the EPA is attempting to accomplish through regulation what the Democrats couldn’t accomplish thru legislation. Last Sunday, the new EPA rules have started to go into effect, and some in Congress intend to stop them in their tracks:

Dozens of Republicans used the opening day of the new Congress on Wednesday to introduce legislation that would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse-gas emissions.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, sponsored the bill. The measure’s 46 co-sponsors are all Republicans except for Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla.)….

The bill would amend the Clean Air Act to declare that greenhouse gases are not subject to the law, according to a brief description in the Congressional Record.

Boren, probably, won’t be the last to sign onto the bill, either. Heath Shuler will likely support it, and I fully expect many of the Democrats from Appalachia to join in, as well, because coal is such a huge part of their districts’ economies.

The House isn’t the only part of Congress that is looking into this. Democratic Senator Jay Rockafeller of West Virginia, a coal heavy state, is looking to re-introduce a similar bill in the Senate:
Firing the first salvo in what is expected to be a top energy issue in the new Congress, Sen. John Rockefeller said Wednesday that he’s raring to go in his controversial bid to handcuff the Environmental Protection Agency’s climate regulations for two years.
The West Virginia Democrat told POLITICO that he’ll soon introduce the same piece of legislation he tried unsuccessfully to get a vote on throughout 2010. Rockefeller said he’d wanted to drop the bill at the start of the 112th Congress but was stymied by plans to spend the day debating changes to the Senate rules.

Rockefeller has been threatening this, for a while. He tried to pass a this in the last Congress, but, of course, it failed. However, times are different, now.

Since the House is heavily Republican, it should pass there rather easily. The Senate may be a bit harder, but it shouldn’t be a problem there, either. The Democrats do have a slim majority, but many of them are up for re-election in 2012, many of those are from red-states. So, they are vulnerable Democrats and will likely follow along with barring the EPA from enforcing the very unpopular regulations, in order to not to be labeled as an extremist by the voters in their respective districts.

The real question will be President Obama. Will he veto it, if it passes Congress? He has been receiving a lot of grief from the left for extending the higher-end Bush tax cuts. So, he may feel the need to veto it, so not to further alienate himself with his base. On the other hand, he doesn’t want to alienate the majority of the American people that don’t want it. He may huff and puff about it, but I think that he will sign it, in the end. He needs the middle more than he needs his base, at this point.

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