Voting has been temporarily postponed in the Senate on proposals to
stop, delay or pare back the Environmental Protection Agency’s
regulation of greenhouse gases linked to climate change problems.
Republican and some Democratic
lawmakers are jockeying to kill or alter EPA regulatory authority that
began taking effect in January on controlling carbon dioxide pollution
blamed for global warming.
Majority Leader Harry Reid had been aiming for votes early on Wednesday
on the proposed EPA amendments, which individual senators are trying to
attach to an unrelated small business jobs bill.
he now says he is aiming for sometime Thursday or Friday on the
controversial measures, after some senators slowed down the process.
Obama administration, backed by some Democrats and environmentalists,
supported the EPA’s increased authority after Congress last year failed
to pass legislation dealing with climate change.
are sharply opposed, arguing that new energy regulations would increase
business costs at a time when the U.S. economic recovery is fragile.
Democrats, especially those from coal-using or coal-producing states
and who are up for re-election next year, have expressed concerns, as
There could end up being four
votes on various EPA-related proposals, and all of them could fail.
Nonetheless, the Senate’s votes could further undercut international
efforts to control global warming if a simple majority of the 100-member
Senate votes in favor of any of the measures. Sixty votes will be
needed to pass any one of the proposals.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is pushing a bill to
completely strip EPA of its authority to regulate carbon pollution under
the Clean Air Act.
* Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller is proposing a two-year delay in EPA regulation.
Senator Max Baucus, also a Democrat, would exempt all agriculture
operations from regulation, as well as any small operation -- one that
emits less than 75,000 tons of carbon a year. The EPA says it only wants
to focus now on large factories, oil refineries and coal-fueled
Senator Debbie Stabenow would suspend EPA regulation for two years but
also create a single national standard for motor vehicle emissions. That
could hobble California’s attempts to impose tougher standards than the
rest of the country after 2016.