June 10th, 2010
08:31 AM ET
5 years ago

Alaska senator moves to strip EPA's authority

Washington (CNN) - The Senate on Thursday is expected vote on a "resolution of disapproval" by an Alaskan senator that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from further regulating air pollution from vehicles and industrial facilities.

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the author of the resolution, vowed Tuesday to strip the EPA of its authority to impose new limits on the emission of greenhouse gases.

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 11 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.


The White House said it will issue a veto threat if the measure makes it to President Barack 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 EPA 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."


Filed under: Energy • EPA • Lisa Murkowski
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Nobody Special

    Brilliant Move!

    Take away the ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY'S power to protect the environment!

    Why didn't I think of that – it makes so much sense.

    What's next? Take airplanes away from the air force?

    June 10, 2010 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  2. Sniffit

    What is it with Alaskans who haven't read the Constitution.

    The EPA does have the right to do as they have been charged to do.

    June 10, 2010 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  3. lucy

    I love it when these politicians refuse to protect others citizens from benefits they themselves enjoy. Is there any signigicant air pollution in Alaska? THere isn't any industry and many towns aren't even connected by roads. So go ahead and let the rest of us breathe crud and poison ourselves so the guys in rural states can enjoy the benefits of our hard work and industry. Just like health care, they have it, we don't.

    June 10, 2010 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  4. GI Joe

    She's an idiot.

    This does NOT need to be at the whim of our "Just Say NO to everything" republicants in Congress.

    We have one earth - and we're killing it.

    June 10, 2010 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  5. shawn

    It's obvious to everybody with a brain that this country needs MORE and better regulation, not less. Look what financial deregulation did to our economy. How's that oily drilly spilly Bushy deregulation working out for ya in the Gulf?

    Let's be honest. Conservatism is a giant failure and dead as a realistic political philosophy. We can all see the results.

    June 10, 2010 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  6. Seth in Jacksonville

    This needs to be handled by the EPA, not Congress. If you don't believe in global warming, you don't get to be in charge of regulating greenhouse gas.

    June 10, 2010 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  7. rob

    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."

    There you have the liberal retort to any attempt to slow the massive, unconstitutional power grab by the Executive branch. Its the same old story, accuse them of wanting to HARM people without addressing the Constitutional issues.

    June 10, 2010 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  8. aneanderthal

    Oh dear, she is going to be in so much trouble with the inept, corrupt president we have and his libertard lackies (actually they are all lackies of the SEIU) in congress. He will have to threaten to kick her butt. We can all tell that he means it too. Just ask North Korea, Iran and Hugo Chavez about how scared they are of threats from the crook in charge of the United States.

    June 10, 2010 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  9. RN

    Obama has been trying to get the congress to act. He has been trying to get the party of NO new ideas to get off their hands and do something. Unlike the party of NO he sees some reason to act.
    I am happy someone is doing something.

    June 10, 2010 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  10. Rob

    Wow so let's get this right.The same party that gave us the slogan Drill baby Drill.The same party that deregulation of the financial markets and the oil and gas industry.The same Party that doesn't support heathcare for and detest Big Goverment now want to control the climate? Go figure

    June 10, 2010 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  11. Jesse in Maryland

    Hopefully she will succeed. Putting that must control over our lives and the economy in the hands of an unelected environmentalist demagogue is economic suicide. Let Congress make the laws, not the EPA.

    June 10, 2010 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  12. Mike chino hills

    The earth is doomed, and so are we.

    June 10, 2010 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  13. doug

    The EPA & the Obama Administration are corrupt, a power grab using bogus science. Why has the EPA been silent on the gulf spill which threatens the future of the gulf coast itself? Then they accuse members of Congress of supporting the oil companies. America itself is sinking and politics is always the wrong answer.

    June 10, 2010 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  14. boocat

    Another stupid politican (hello Sarah Palin) from Alaska. The EPA should investigate that states environs. Maybe it's the Alaska envrionment that is creating these cretins.

    June 10, 2010 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  15. Noocrat

    Murkowski sounds like a child who doesn't understand the separation of powers. Moreover, this resolutions isn't going to go over well during an environmental disaster.

    Are they going to take over for the other agencies too? Like I would ever trust a Senator to do the FDA's job.

    If you pass a law that ambiguously gives an executive agency (that's more knowledgeable of the issue) the right to regulate something, the that's what the agency does. Not to mention, if a (conservative) Supreme Court tells the EPA they're violating the Clean Air Act by not studying and then regulating green house gas emissions, then they are, as that is the most recent interpretation of the law.

    June 10, 2010 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  16. Joseph B

    This move is not about who controls the air – it is about an oil-tied Republican siding with Big Oil again. If something like this were to go through, our air would look worse than China's. Do we really want lawyers determining the quality of air we breathe, particularly those whose livelihoods are so tied to big companies' coffers these days? I much prefer scientists making the determination of what is safe.

    June 10, 2010 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  17. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    As a reminder to Senator Murkowski and others – the reason the EPA took the regulatory lead is because the Senate has refused to do so since the 70's when that agency was established by President Richard Nixon. If she wants to strip the EPA of any of its powers, she better have the legislation ready to enact whatever greenhouse gas emissions that BP tells her to.

    June 10, 2010 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  18. American Patriot -- a "real" tea partier

    By all means, let's make certain that no industry has to be careful.

    After all, it's not like anything bad will happen that they can't handle... just ask BP. That's not an oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. Of course not. It's just a little burp that can be cleaned up in no time all because the oil industry didn't have to follow regulations....

    June 10, 2010 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  19. Hey

    Because Congress has been so great at getting anything accomplished. Lets give you people some more control over something that needs to be focussed on sooner rather than later. And so what are your thoughts on how the greenhouse gasses should be regulated Sen. Murkowski? Oh, you just want control, so you can sit on your hands and do nothing!

    June 10, 2010 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  20. Dave

    Oh yeah, we just saw how well this worked with the regulation of the oil industry. The worst oil disaster in the history of the world.

    I wouldn't trust these guys to police their own toilet.

    June 10, 2010 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  21. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I guess that the Senator from Alaska has been bought by the oil industry. How would deny the EPA a chance to keep the US air clean. If Lisa Murkowski wants to deny the changing climate, that is up to her (but a stupid idea despite all the evidence that we are changing it). The problem is that she is also dening the US from showing leadership in this problem.

    June 10, 2010 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  22. KM

    Let me try to understand this and put it in simple words. The senate is trying to take the authority of regulating air pollution from the scientific professionals within EPA because it is in the executive branch and have that authority rest within the legislative branch. Within the legislative branch you have individuals who are voted into office, not by their qualifications on environmental issues but their qualifications to govern.

    This is why nothing ever gets done in the legislative branch, everyone say that something needs to be done on a particular issue but that is where the old saying comes from that "it will take an act of congress" to get it done.

    June 10, 2010 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  23. Seth

    Senator Murkowski... and all of you who are standing with her on this
    vital issue.

    Thank you for doing the job that We the People elected you to do.

    It is great to PUSH BACK against Obama policies that will bring this
    great country down. Even if you don't win the fight... you are willing to fight and that is all any of us can do.

    United Patriots to remove Nancy, Harry and Barry from Office in 2012!!!

    June 10, 2010 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  24. get real

    If Lisa wants a warmer climate, why doesn't she just move to Florida. She doesn't have to attempt to change the climate in Alaska!

    June 10, 2010 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  25. Caryn

    What is it with Alaskan politicians? The Supreme Court has already ruled on this. Besides which Congress can't seem to get anything done except plant their faces on TV and complain about everyone else! It doesn't matter if they are Republicans, Democrats or Independents – nobody is working to get anything done!!!!

    June 10, 2010 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
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