It didn’t take long for House Republicans to start working on one of their biggest goals in 2011. Yesterday, the first full day of business for the Republican House, almost 50 Republicans and one Democrat added their names to a bill filed by Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) that would block the EPA from issuing any new regulations on greenhouse-gas emissions. Rep. Dan Boren of Oklahoma may not be the last Democrat in Congress to align himself with this effort, either:
Dozens of Republicans used the opening day of the new Congress on Wednesday to introduce legislation that would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse-gas emissions.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, sponsored the bill. The measure’s 46 co-sponsors are all Republicans except for Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla.). …
The bill would amend the Clean Air Act to declare that greenhouse gases are not subject to the law, according to a brief description in the Congressional Record.
If skeptics think that this move will be strictly symbolic due to the Democratic majority in the Senate, don’t necessarily rush to that conclusion. Earlier this week, Jay Rockefeller announced his intention to reintroduce a two-year moratorium on EPA enforcement of the CAA in regard to greenhouse gas emissions:
Firing the first salvo in what is expected to be a top energy issue in the new Congress, Sen. John Rockefeller said Wednesday that he’s raring to go in his controversial bid to handcuff the Environmental Protection Agency’s climate regulations for two years.
The West Virginia Democrat told POLITICO that he’ll soon introduce the same piece of legislation he tried unsuccessfully to get a vote on throughout 2010. Rockefeller said he’d wanted to drop the bill at the start of the 112th Congress but was stymied by plans to spend the day debating changes to the Senate rules.
I spoke with Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) last month, perhaps the fiercest critic of the EPA and its attempt to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, who was less than impressed with Rockefeller’s earlier efforts. Rockefeller had opportunities to join Inhofe and others to put a halt to the EPA’s expansion of authority earlier and failed to act. Now, however, with the national mood swinging hard against increased regulation in general and perhaps the EPA in particular, it looks as though Rockefeller really feels a need to get ahead of the curve.
Of course, if Congress passes either a moratorium or a complete ban on enforcement, Barack Obama will almost certainly veto it. If he does, that will show Obama as isolated from the mainstream just when Obama will be trying to position himself once again as a post-partisan moderate for the next election.