Legislation seeks to block EPA greenhouse regulations

Chris Rizo Feb. 2, 2010, 6:00pm

U.S. Capitol building

Ike Skelton (D-Mo.)

Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.)

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline)- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could be blocked by Congress from developing its own greenhouse gas regulations, under legislation announced Tuesday.

The bipartisan-sponsored legislation was introduced by U.S. Reps. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo.

"Simply put, we cannot tolerate turning over the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions to unelected bureaucrats at EPA," Skelton said in a statement. "America's energy and environmental policies should be set by Congress."

Their plan would amend the federal Clean Air Act to prohibit regulation of greenhouse gases as it relates to global climate change. The legislation would also stop the EPA from calculating land use changes in foreign countries in determining American renewable fuels policy.

"This legislation is a guarantee that the EPA will not use its rapidly-expanding powers to enact policies which members of Congress know will create untold hardships in the rest of the country, especially in Missouri," Emerson said in the statement.

In December, the EPA concluded carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases represent a danger to public health. The endangerment finding allows the environmental agency to set rules limiting six greenhouse gasses: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.

The EPA's move followed a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that found greenhouse gases are considered air pollutants under federal environmental laws.

This month, 16 states and New York City filed a motion to intervene in the challenge of the EPA's endangerment finding.

Sixteen state attorneys general signed a motion to intervene in the suit, filed by industry groups in December in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

"The Proposed Intervenors are requesting leave to intervene in this action under... because the Court's action on the petition for review will affect the public health and welfare of their residents and will also affect a host of global warming impacts that the Proposed Intervenors are suffering, and will continue to suffer, in the future," their motion said.

Attorneys general joining Massachusetts' Martha Coakley in hoping to intervene are from the states of Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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U.S. Supreme Court
1 First St NE
Washington, DC 20543

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20460

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