U.S. Senate defeats move to stop EPA CO2 regulation
By Timothy Gardner and Richard Cowan
WASHINGTON, June 10 (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate on Thursday (June 10th) killed legislation that would have stripped the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from large factories, electric power companies and automobiles.
The defeat of the Republican-inspired measure knocked down the most serious legislative challenge the EPA faced on regulating planet-warming gases, although it may have to contend with lawsuits from companies and industry groups.
In a procedural move, the Senate voted 53-47 to block the bill offered by Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski.
“We managed to avoid taking a big step backwards, and now it’s time to come together and focus on creating clean energy jobs and moving into an energy independent future,” EPA spokeswoman Adora Andy said.
The defeat of the bill could give new life to the effort in Congress to pass a broad energy and climate legislation, a top goal of President Barack Obama’s even before the BP Plc oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
That is because many heavy industry companies, like power utilities and steel and cement makers, prefer that Congress craft a plan to cut emissions over facing likely tougher rules issued by the EPA.
“Today’s vote is yet another reminder of the urgent need to pass legislation that would help America transition to a 21st century clean energy economy that would create jobs, strengthen our national security, and protect our environment for our children,” Obama said in a statement.
Had Murkowski’s move succeeded, it would have been another setback in the global climate change fight before the next U.N. talks in Mexico later this year.
Obama has always said he prefers that Congress deals with climate, but that the EPA would act if a bill failed.
In fact, the EPA last month finalized rules that would require large power utilities, manufacturers and oil refineries to get permits to emit greenhouse gases starting next year. In addition, it has issued rules on requiring autos to use less gasoline and diesel fuel and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Source: Reuters Carbon Market Weekly