Michigan Senator Stabenow seeks to delay EPA action on greenhouse gases

Mar 31, 2011

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow is seeking to keep the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions for two years.

According to Grist.org, the Senator's amendment has four elements:

  • A two-year suspension of stationary source greenhouse gas regulations
  • Preventing any future California waiver for tailpipe greenhouse emissions
  • Excluding regulation of biofuel greenhouse emissions related to land-use changes, or of any greenhouse emissions from other agricultural activities
  • Allocating $5 billion to the Advanced Energy Project tax credit

Stabenow says her amendment is aimed at protecting small businesses. A written statement from Stabenow was quoted in the Kalamazoo Gazette:

"My amendment is a common-sense approach that allows protections from carbon pollution, determined by scientists and public health experts, to continue being developed while providing businesses the support and incentives they need as they reduce pollution, generate new clean energy technologies and create jobs."

The position Stabenow is taking pits her against her usual supporters - environmental groups.

Stabenow was called an "environmental champion" by the League of Conservation Voters.

Now, some environmentalists say Stabenow has "has joined the pro-polluter frenzy sweeping the U.S. Senate."

David Doniger of the Natural Resources Defense Council wrote on his blog that Stabenow's amendment, like an amendment from another Democratic Sentator (Jay Rockefeller - D-WV), would eventually lead to a repeal of the EPA's authority:

History shows that once enacted, delays are easily extended for many years.  So like the Rockefeller amendment, the Stabenow amendment is a tactic for effectively repealing EPA’s authority to set carbon pollution safeguards for most industries. 

Some Senators, like their colleagues in the House, are calling for an outright repeal of EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

Republican Senator Mitch McConnell from Kentucky has introduced an amendment that completely stops the EPA from using the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

It's not the first attempt to keep the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2010, then Ohio Senator George Voinovich attempted to block the EPA's authority.

That attempt failed in the Democratically controlled Congress.

These latest attempts have a better chance at succeeding.