June 8th, 2010
07:58 PM ET
5 years ago

Alaska senator moves to strip EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases

 Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski vowed Tuesday to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its authority to impose new limits on the emission of greenhouse gases.
Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski vowed Tuesday to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its authority to impose new limits on the emission of greenhouse gases.

Washington (CNN) - Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski vowed Tuesday to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its authority to impose new limits on the emission of greenhouse gases.

The Senate on Thursday is expected vote on a "resolution of disapproval" by Murkowski that would prevent the EPA from further regulating air pollution from vehicles and industrial facilities.

Murkowski has the bipartisan support of 40 other senators, who may disagree with each other on the scientific impact of greenhouse gases, but who all agree that such regulations should be authorized by Congress, not an executive agency.

"The EPA intends to take control of climate policy, take it away from the Congress," Murkowski said at a press conference with eleven of her fellow Republican senators. "And I think those that are looking at this from the perspective of separate but equal branches of government look at this and say that this is absolutely unacceptable."

It is unclear whether there is enough support in the Senate to approve the measure, but its prospects in the House are slim. Regardless, the White House on Tuesday issued a veto threat if it makes it to President Obama's desk.

"[The Murkowski resolution] would undermine the Administration's efforts to reduce the negative impacts of pollution and the risks associated with environmental catastrophes, like the ongoing BP oil spill," said a White House policy statement.

At issue is a Supreme Court ruling from 2007 which determined that the E.P.A. has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the rules of the Clean Air Act. In December 2009, the EPA concluded scientific findings and declared that carbon dioxide and five other gases constitute pollutants that should be further restricted. And the agency announced in April new rules for vehicles: a mandatory increase in fuel efficiency coupled with reductions in gas emissions, starting with 2012 model years.

Lisa Jackson, the EPA Administrator, wrote a column Monday in the Huffington Post accusing Murkowski of siding with "big oil companies and their lobbyists" in an effort to "take away EPA's ability to protect the health and welfare of Americans from greenhouse gas pollution."

Supporters of Murkowski's resolution say that the Clean Air Act was never intended to give federal agencies full control over greenhouse regulations, but rather to check industrial and commercial structures. Such regulatory decisions, they argue, should be made by Congress.

"I think the EPA needs to understand it's not the fourth branch of government," said Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Nebraska, who supports the limits on EPA. "Just because they are dissatisfied with the level of progress of the legislative branch doesn't empower them to become super legislators."

Nelson's sentiment is echoed by fellow Democrats Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana and Blanche Lincoln, D-Arkansas. The only Republicans not currently signed on as co-sponsors are Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine and Scott Brown of Massachusetts.

Murkowski said she is leading this effort not because she is a skeptic of global warming, but because she wants Congress to be proactive on new environmental policies.

"We are not going after the science, that was not my intention," she said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he wants the Senate to approve new energy legislation this summer to address both global warming and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.


Filed under: Environmental policy • EPA • Lisa Murkowski
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    There she goes again - wanting the republicans to take over the regulations (de-regulation) of everything.

    Shame on her.

    June 8, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  2. Carl Justus

    Another Alaskan who is so greedy for some oil royality money they will sacrifice the environment for a few dollars.

    We have enough greedy wall streeters, oil company executives, multi-national corporations executives, we do not need our senators to join the group of I wil get mine anyway I can.

    June 8, 2010 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  3. gary

    This is a state with a population smaller than the District of Columbia and they pay no taxes because of the oil...and she has the nerve to take on the federal government that is trying to protect all Americans? Why does anyone take this governor seriously?

    June 8, 2010 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  4. Sheldon

    CONGRESS has FAILED to Act- i.e., 'Dereliction of Duty' to PROTECT the ENVIRONMENT.
    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is CHARGED by its enabling Legislation to "....PROTECT the Environment...", i.e., do 'SOMETHING' to control the 'Greenhouse Gas' Emissions that are KEEPING MORE HEAT Energy in our Earth's Atmosphere. i wish the 'Republicans' would STAY with their platform of ' CONSERVING the STATUS QUO' – allowing such 'HOT AIR' to ESCAPE Out of Earth's Atmosphere at the OLD Rate by cutting Back the Green House Gas Emissions to the 1970s Level.

    June 8, 2010 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  5. hendrik

    Fat chance you stupid pro-oil moron. Go away and stay at Sarah Palin's house for a while. What you propose will never happen. Go figure out that global warming is real and then come back to talk. Fool.

    June 8, 2010 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  6. Corey T., NY

    Senator Murkowski is right behind her fellow Alaskan, Sarah Palin, as the largest foe to the environment.

    It would be a big mistake if the Murkowski amendment is passed.

    June 8, 2010 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  7. Mike

    Why should this surprise anyone. These are Republicans who support big oil. We can thank them for the mess in the Gulf now. This will die in the House as it should. Counting on Congress to limit Greenhouse gas is stupid. They will not do it. EPA needs to do it.

    June 8, 2010 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  8. j

    Great, why don't we just pollute as much as we can as fast as we can and hope that the next sapient species to evolve on this planet will get it right.

    June 8, 2010 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  9. Dawn

    GOOD!! The EPA has way too much control and NO idea what they are doing.

    June 8, 2010 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  10. Matt

    The Republicans won't be satisfied until the Earth is uninhabitable for anyone.

    June 8, 2010 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  11. gjetson

    Let me get this straight. The Clean Air Act was passed by Congress. The president enforces it via the EPA & the SCOTUS said EPA has the power to enforce it.

    Nothing to see here.

    But of course Ben, Mary and Blanche support this nuttiness. Coulda guessed that one. Their corporate overlords will be pleased. Corporate 'persons' don't have to breathe air.

    June 8, 2010 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  12. vwrtb

    Just another big business republican...

    June 8, 2010 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  13. Francis from Bolingbrook

    I can't believe that environmental protection is being made still into a political issue even after the still unresolved BP crisis. Whether it's air, land and sea protection, it needs to be an "executive" undertaking. Imagine giving the BP resolution to the legislative branch of government. It is obvious that law makers want to customize their environmental policies to their specific states, but where do you draw the line? The wind that blows, and the rivers and lakes that flow in lower 49's connect some states and peoples lives. The BP tragedy is a testament that executive decision is needed in environmental protection. Listen to lobbyist cajoul our lawmakers and it will take months and years for anything can be done. We need to give EPA more authority than less.

    June 8, 2010 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  14. Dave

    As long as the Murkowski's of the world are in the senate there is no hope. Doesn't she realize that congress has higher disapproval ratings than the rest of government. We don't need the wolves guarding the henhouse.

    June 8, 2010 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  15. Frederick C. Lee

    Apparently the Senator and her supporters fail to understand what a 'pollutant' is nor fail to grasp the ramifications of regulating pollution by a political committee with ulterior motifs.

    Imagine having a set of congress people determine what to regulate and what not to regulate.

    It's stupidity.

    We need a strong enforcer of Environment Policy that is accountable to the public and the challenge of the courts; not a bunch of congress people answerable to lobbyists.

    June 8, 2010 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  16. John

    Somebody should tell the senator that the EPA is a scientific organization that should be trusted with scientific policy. Giving this legislation to the US congress is like telling the staff at McDonalds to take us to the moon. No offense to Mcdonalds staff.

    June 8, 2010 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  17. Marie MD

    What is wrong with the people in AK? They seem to vote for half twit retarded people.
    Why is that? Too cold for the brain to think straight?
    Another reason to NEVER go to AK. Wolf helicopter kills, pups dead in dens, shoot anyone without any repercussions and now all these politicians!
    WOW!! I thought SC was bad enough.

    June 8, 2010 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  18. Victim of GOP Taliban

    More of business as usual Republican politics. Who knew we just had the worst oil spill in U.S. History due to these policies.

    If these GOP activists get their way...there wouldn't even be an EPA in the first place. Losers

    June 8, 2010 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  19. stevetall

    Considering the poor job the legislature has done with the responsibhilities they currently have, I'm surprized that they don't want to pawn this one off.

    OK, you dumb jerks. If you kill the planet, just think of all the registered voters who'll be furious. You all might have to get real jobs!

    June 8, 2010 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  20. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    The EPA is another one of those things for which there's no shred of Constitutional authority–the agency should be abolished completely.

    June 8, 2010 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  21. Dale

    Don't think I want the saftey of my children's world to be put in the hands of poloticians that sell themselves to the highest bidder.

    June 8, 2010 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  22. AK Steve

    Murkowski says, "The EPA intends to take control of climate policy, take it away from the Congress,"

    Well, God, let's hope they take it away from you. What have you done but strip air quality controls in favor of deregulation for the polluters.

    It's time to get the politicians like Murkowski (and frankly the rest of the GOP) to start respecting the PEOPLE of america and not just the corporations who donate $100,000 to them.

    June 8, 2010 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  23. The Truth, Please...I Just Want The Truth

    Here we go again...another Republican defending Big Business' "right" to pollute as much as they want to....

    June 8, 2010 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  24. Walter

    What's she got to lose? Alaska is populated by knuckle-dragging mouth breathers, and a little global warming could only improve that frozen cesspool.

    June 8, 2010 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  25. phoenix86

    What???? Common sense coming out of Washington? Does Obama and Pelosi know about this? What about the Fringe Left?

    June 8, 2010 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
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