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Murkowski Resolution Fails, Senate’s Next Greenhouse Gas Steps Unclear

July 2, 2010


Murkowski Resolution Fails, Senate’s Next Greenhouse Gas Steps Unclear

The Senate last month failed to pass Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska) Resolution of Disapproval that would have prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from moving forward with greenhouse gas regulations under the Clean Air Act. Those potentially regulated could range from the largest textile factory and coal-fired power plants, to possibly even small dairy operations. In fact, if these efforts ultimately move forward, nearly 99% of all U.S. dairy farms could be hit with the new EPA regulations.

With the new regulations now looming, many in Congress are looking to move ahead with Sen. Rockefeller’s legislation (S. 3072), a bill that would delay the EPA’s climate regulations for stationary sources for two years. While halting the agency’s efforts to regulate stationary sources, the bill would allow for other actions to still move forward, including vehicle emissions standards. Rockefeller currently has six Democrats joining him in support of the bill. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.V.) has introduced a companion bill (H.R. 4753) in the House of Representatives. Another potential option could be through the appropriations process; however, it is unclear if Congress will even get as far as subcommittee markups this year.

It is also unclear if the Senate will take up a comprehensive energy package this summer, which could include language to mitigate GHG emissions. Senators on both sides of the aisle are jockeying for what the legislation will ultimately look like if it were to reach the Senate floor. Several related bills, including the American Clean Energy Leadership Act which passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last year; the American Power Act, a climate change bill introduced by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.); the Carbon Limits and Energy for America's Renewal (CLEAR) Act (S.2877); and the Practical Energy and Climate Plan Act of 2010 (S. 3464), have all been mentioned as potential vehicles to see action this year.