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Congressional Republicans and Senate Democrat Introduce Bills to Prevent Regulation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

By William Kaplowitz

On January 5, 2011, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) introduced a bill, H.R. 97, that would prevent EPA from regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the Clean Air Act. The bill, which has 113 co-sponsors, would amend the Clean Air Act to exclude GHG emissions from the definition of "air pollutant." On January 6, 2011, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) introduced H.R. 199, which would delay for two years EPA regulations on GHGs that are not produced by motor vehicles. Also on January 6, 2011, Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) introduced H.R. 153, a bill that would prohibit the use of federal funds to implement or enforce a cap-and-trade program or other regulation of stationary sources of GHG emissions. All three bills have been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is now chaired by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI).

On January 25, 2011, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) introduced a bill that would prevent any federal agency from regulating carbon dioxide emissions until the Secretary of Commerce certifies that China, India, and Russia have undertaken reductions in carbon dioxide emissions that are substantially similar to the emissions reductions proposed for the United States. The Vitter bill, S.15, has been referred to the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee, which is chaired by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Cal.).

On January 31, 2011, Senator John Barrasso (R-Wy.), along with ten Republican co-sponsors, introduced a bill known as the Defending America's Affordable Energy and Jobs Act. The Barrasso bill would prevent EPA from regulating GHG emissions except to the extent that exposure to the GHGs themselves, as opposed to their contribution to climate change, endangers health and welfare. The bill would also strip EPA of its joint authority with the Department of Transportation to develop GHG emission standards for vehicles. Lastly, it would bar common law tort claims that seek damages from GHG emitters for their contribution to climate change. Also on January 31, 2011, Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) reintroduced a bill that, like H.R. 199, would delay for two years EPA regulation of GHG emissions from stationary sources. Senator Rockefeller said that his bill, which is identical to one he floated in 2010 and is co-sponsored by six Democratic senators, is necessary to give Congress time to craft a deliberate and comprehensive energy bill and industry a chance to develop "clean coal technologies."

The Blackburn bill is available at:

The Capito bill is available at:

The Poe bill is available at:

The Vitter bill is available at:

The Barrasso bill is available at:

The Rockefeller bill is available at: