Washington (CNN) - The U.S. Senate engaged in a heated debate Thursday on an issue at the heart of the fight over energy reform: whether the Environmental Protection Agency should have the authority to impose clear limits on the emission of greenhouse gases.
The chamber is expected to vote on a proposed "resolution of disapproval" drafted by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, that would prevent the EPA from further regulation of air pollution from vehicles and industrial facilities. Murkowski has argued that new rules should only be created by Congress, not an executive agency.
"It would amount to an unprecedented power grab, ceding Congress' responsibilities to unelected bureaucrats and move a very, very important debate, a critical debate, from our open halls to behind an agency's closed doors," Murkowski argued on the Senate floor.
Murkowski's measure is vehemently opposed by environmentalists who say the EPA's decision to regulate greenhouse gases is based on scientific research.
"I believe it's ridiculous for politicians - elected senators - to make this scientific decision. It is not our expertise," replied Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. "We've got to stop this attack on science and health."