Upcoming House committee vote on bill to kill EPA regulation of greenhouse gases

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The House Committee on Energy and Commerce has scheduled mark-up sessions March 14-15 to vote on H.R. 910, a bill to repeal EPA’s scientifically based Endgangerment Finding on greenhouse gases and prohibit the agency from regulating emissions.

On Monday, March 14, 2011, at 3:00 p.m. EDT, the full Committee on Energy and Commerce will begin consideration of the so-called Energy Tax Prevention Act (H.R. 910), a bill to stop the EPA from promulgating greenhouse gas regulations using its authority under the Clean Air Act.  On conclusion of opening statements, Committee Chair Fred Upton (R-Michigan) will call up H.R. 910 and then immediately recess.  The Committee will re-convene on Tuesday, March 15, 2011, at 10:00 a.m. in 2123 Rayburn House Office Building.

H.R. 910 was approved by voice vote by the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power on March 10. Robin Bravender at Politico reported ("House panel votes to stop Obama climate rules").

Committee Democrats may offer amendments as part of the mark-up. From the Energy and Commerce Committee Democratic Minority website:

Disregarding calls from health professionals, scientists and the world’s leading climate experts to address the impacts of climate change, today, the Republican majority will hold a markup on H.R. 910, legislation that would amend the Clean Air Act and block the EPA from regulating dangerous carbon emissions. The Upton-Inhofe bill overturns proven scientific findings that carbon pollution endangers the health of Americans. It repeals the greenhouse gas reporting rule and removes the EPA’s authority to require energy efficiency at power plants and refineries.

Commenting on the March 10 subcommittee vote, Dan Lashof, Climate Center Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council said: “This is a stunning rebuke to the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists at the EPA and leading scientific institutions aropund the world. … This bill – a brazen overreach by some Republicans eager to carry out the agenda of fossil fuel interests – is an attempt to have Congress micromanage regulatory issues that are best left to scientific experts.”

Brad Johnson at The Wonk Room noted the reaction of Rep. Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) to the subcommittee vote:

With sardonic humor, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) mocked today’s markup of legislation to overturn the scientific finding that fossil fuel pollution is causing dangerous climate change. Markey, who championed climate legislation that passed the House of Representatives in 2009, protested the energy subcommittee’s consideration of the Upton-Inhofe bill to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency’s rules on climate pollution, including its endangerment finding:

Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to a bill that overturns the scientific finding that pollution is harming our people and our planet.

However, I won’t physically rise, because I’m worried that Republicans will overturn the law of gravity, sending us floating about the room.

I won’t call for the sunlight of additional hearings, for fear that Republicans might excommunicate the finding that the Earth revolves around the sun. …

Republican Majority Background Memo on H.R. 910

Democratic Minority critical analysis of H.R. 910

Environment & Energy Daily reports (March 14, subscription required):

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, who appeared Friday [March 11] on Capitol Hill to discuss her agency's fiscal 2012 budget request, told Energy and Commerce that the legislation would forgo fuel economy improvements that in turn would drive up the cost of energy. She noted that in addition to the bill's provisions on stationary sources of CO2, it would also prevent EPA from being involved in setting any future greenhouse gas tailpipe emissions rules after model year 2016.

"The bill that passed the committee would actually increase the amount of money that Americans have to pay for gasoline," she said. "All told, nullifying this part of the Clean Air Act would prevent hundreds of billions of barrels of oil savings at a time when prices are rising yet again. I can't for the life of me understand why you would vote to massively increase America's oil dependence."

See the op-ed in Politico (“A science-free Congress?”) on March 8 by by John Abraham,  associate professor of thermal sciences at the University of St.Thomas, Peter Gleick,  president of The Pacific Institute, Michael Mann,  director of the Earth Science Center at Penn State University, and Michael Oppenheimer,  professor of geosciences at Princeton University, which includes this:

To our dismay, and the nation’s detriment, self-described climate change deniers – strongly supported by fossil-fuel interests — continue to mislead Congress and the public.

In late January, we joined 14 other leading scientists in writing a letter to every member of Congress, asking our elected representatives to separate science from policy. We called attention to the overwhelming scientific evidence of climate change, urging Congress to “address the challenge of climate change, and lead the national response…” We want Congress to understand that, with each passing day, the problem worsens.

Our letter was certainly not the first plea to Congress to address climate change, and it won’t be the last. An open letter just last May from 255 members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences urged similar actions. But the race to run away from the problem is nothing short of staggering.

Nothing exemplifies this more than a bill by House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), to overturn the scientific finding by the Environmental Protection Agency that greenhouse gases are harmful to human health.

We are saddened and disturbed that Upton is apparently planning to hold a vote in committee very soon to overturn a science-based determination absent any scientific justification for doing so.

This science-free approach serves only the interests of oil and coal producers and other big polluters who don’t want Congress — or the American people — to know what decades of scientific research have revealed about current climate trends and the growing future risks we face.

Science is the Achilles heel for those who try to perpetuate the myth that climate change is not occurring, or that the massive build-up of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere is not the main reason the climate is changing. …

See additional discussion on Climate Progress (“A science-free Congress?” March 8 post)

The committee’s Democratic website includes:

  • Letter in Opposition from Scientists: "The EPA must be allowed to fulfill its responsibilities and take action to regulate global warming emissions under the Clean Air Act. This science-based law has prevented 400,000 premature deaths and hundreds of millions of cases of respiratory and cardiovascular disease during the 40 years since it was first passed—all without diminishing economic growth."  
  • Letter in Opposition from National Academy of Sciences: "We are deeply disturbed by the recent escalation of political assaults on scientists in general and on climate scientists in particular. All citizens should understand some basic scientific facts."
  • Letter in Opposition from Former Senior Military Officers: "America’s dependence on oil constitutes a clear and present danger to the security and welfare of the United States. As former senior military officers, we are concerned about Congressional efforts to undermine the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory authority that is critical to reducing our dependence on oil."
  • Letter in Opposition from Health and Medical Professionals: "Please fulfill the promise of clean, healthy air for all Americans to breathe. Support full implementation of the Clean Air Act and resist any efforts to weaken, delay or block progress toward a healthier future for all Americans." 
  • Letter in Opposition from the American Public Health Association: "Cimate change is a public health issue and is one of the greatest threats to human health. Scientists from across the globe have stated in the strongest possible terms that the climate is changing and that human activity is to blame."
  • Letter in Opposition from Organizations: "This reckless legislation puts America’s health, prosperity, and national security at risk by gutting the Clean Air Act, overturning a decision of the Supreme Court, and dismantling the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to address life-threatening carbon dioxide and other pollution." 
  • Letter in Opposition from the American Lung Association: "A recent  bipartisan survey... indicates the overwhelming view of voters: 69 percent think the EPA should update Clean Air Act standards with stricter limits on air pollution; 64 percent feel that Congress should not stop the EPA from updating  carbon dioxide emission standards; 69 percent believe that EPA scientists, rather than Congress, should set pollution standards."

Earlier CSW post:

House subcommittee plans March 10 vote to block EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions

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One Response to Upcoming House committee vote on bill to kill EPA regulation of greenhouse gases

  1. Janet Broda says:

    I am dismayed and appalled that the Committee on Energy and Commerce would introduce a bill that overturns the scientific finding that pollution is harming our people and our planet. It's time that our elected leaders start acting and producing legislation that would benefit the people rather than their party's own agenda. It time to separate Science, the welfare of the people of the United States from politics. I hope the Commitee on Energy and Commerence will reconsider and withdraw the Energy Tax Prevention Act (H.R. 910).

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