EPA May Get Muzzled by Murkowski Afterall

Last Updated Jan 4, 2010 7:14 PM EST

The Environmental Protection Agency may lose its greenhouse gas emissions regulating power -- at least temporarily -- thanks to an amendment introduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R- Alaska.

Senate leadership has agreed to allow a vote on Murkowski's amendment to temporarily block the EPA's regulation of GHGs, The Hill's E2 Wire blog reported last week. Argus Media later confirmed with Murkowski's office, the vote on the amendment is expected once the Senate is back in session. The vote is scheduled for Jan. 20 and is part of the Senate's consideration of a resolution to raise the federal debt limit. Murkowski's amendment calls for a one-year moratorium on EPA regulations, except for motor vehicle standards.

Murkowski, spurred into action by the EPA's recent GHG endangerment finding, announced last month a plan to file a disapproval resolution to stop the government agency from regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. This followed a failed attempt last fall by Murkowski to place a one-year regulation moratorium on the EPA. The disapproval resolution has yet to be introduced.

Murkowski's reason? Time. Meaning, she wants to give Congress the time it needs to hash out a legislative solution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Now she just needs 60 votes -- the required number -- for the amendment to pass and the pressure to push through climate-change legislation will fade away, for at least a year.

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