Take Responsibility, Congress, on Greenhouse Gas Policy

The National Association of Manufacturers joined 23 other trade associations representing industry and business — employers! — in a letter to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees calling on the lawmakers to exercise their policy-making authority and limits the Environmental Protection Agency’s attempts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. (House letter, Senate letter)

Even as the letters arrived, the Senate Appropriations Committee was shuffling its feet, whistling and peering off in another direction. Mark-up? What mark-up?

Coverage …

Congress has more or less given up on passing individual appropriations bills, surrendering to the political siren song of the continuing resolution. But as the industry letter states: “It is Congress’ prerogative to enact a national climate policy, not the EPA’s.”

More than prerogative, really. It’s a responsibility, a duty.

Excerpt from the letter to appropriators:

Unless Congress acts this Fall new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the Clean Air Act will go into effect on January 2, 2011. The rules impose a significant burden across the U.S. economy, including the sectors that will create jobs and lead us in our economic recovery. It is Congress’ prerogative to enact a national climate policy, not the EPA’s. Fortunately, there are opportunities for Congress to exercise its prerogative prior to the end of the legislative session.

We urge your strong support for measures to temporarily restrict EPA’s authority to implement the GHG rules affecting stationary sources, and to give Congress the time necessary to consider the appropriate regulatory approach for those sources.

According to EPA, as many as six million of America’s industrial facilities, power plants, hospitals, agricultural and commercial establishments eventually will be subject to these rules, at a considerable cost and burden on jobs, state resources and the ability to move forward on a national climate policy. State implementing agencies have no guidance on issuing the required permits, the measures needed to comply are not known, and both state implementing agencies and covered commercial facilities will be left in a bind. There is the very real prospect that investments by businesses across the entire economy – the investments that will drive economic recovery and job creation – will be delayed, curtailed or, even worse, cancelled.

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