The U.S. Supreme Court ruled four years ago that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate planet-warming greenhouse gasses... if the agency found those gasses are a threat to human health and safety. In 2009, the EPA found greenhouse gasses are a threat... and the agency started taking steps to regulate emissions from industries such as coal-burning power plants and automobiles.
For months now, many members of Congress have been trying to block the EPA from doing that. The latest people to climb on board are from Michigan: Republican Representative Fred Upton and Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow.
Fred Upton chairs the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee. He not only wants to stop the EPA from regulating greenhouse gasses... he wants to repeal the EPA’s scientific finding that greenhouse gasses are harmful.
Ryan Werder is the political director for the nonpartisan group Michigan League of Conservation Voters. He says since he was appointed Chair, Congressman Upton has shifted to the right politically.
“He was always a good, moderate, reliable voice. Before, when he said climate change was a reality and something we had to consider. He suddenly removed that from this website and acts as if climate change is non-existent.”
Werder says Senator Debbie Stabenow is also under pressure. Stabenow wants to delay the EPA’s regulations for two years... to protect Michigan’s agriculture and auto industries.
“She’s worried about her re-election and she’s trying to do her best to make sure that utilities and industries and autos and everybody are happy.”
Bottom line: some of Michigan’s members of Congress are trying to stop the EPA from regulating greenhouse gasses any time soon... if ever.