Senate Democrats Challenge the EPA on Endangerment

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) last week led a group of eight Democratic Senators who, in a letter, challenged the Environmental Protection Agency on plans to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. As Sen. Rockefeller said in a release announcing the letter:

At a time when so many people are hurting, we need to put the decisions about our energy future in to the hands of the people and their elected representatives-especially on issues impacting clean coal. EPA actions in this area would have enormous implications and these issues need to be handled carefully and appropriately dealt with by the Congress, not in isolation by a federal environmental agency.

It’s not just in hard times, either. Policy decisions should always be put in the hands of the people and their elected representatives. The executive branch regulates and administrates, but in a representative democracy, it doesn’t arrogate policy decisions to itself.

Joining Rockefeller in the letter were Sens. Mark Begich (AK), Robert Byrd (WV), Sherrod Brown (OH), Robert Casey (PA), Clare McCaskill (MO), Carl Levin (MI), and Max Baucus (MT). The full letter is here.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) this week welcomed the Senators’ letter and noted the bipartisan support for her resolution of disapproval (S.J.Res. 26) that would stop the EPA’s power grab. In a release, she said:

Congress remains the appropriate body to develop climate policy. Having evaluated and pursued other options to respond to EPA’s proposed regulations in the past, I’m convinced that alternatives to the disapproval resolution will face a difficult path forward. Economically damaging regulations will be no more acceptable at some later date.

I commend my colleagues for becoming more engaged in this important issue and hope they will show their commitment by signing on as co-sponsors of the disapproval resolution. It’s time to take the threat of EPA’s command-and-control regulations off the table. 

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