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Murkowski Seeks to Thwart EPA Regulation of Greenhouse Gases

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) wants to put the brakes on the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to curb climate change by barring the agency from spending any funds on regulating carbon dioxide pollution from power plants, manufacturers, and other major emissions sources. She’s asking for a one-year “timeout” so Congress can pass new legislation, despite the fact that they’ve known since April 2007 that EPA regulations were coming down the pike.

Murkowski’s proposed amendment (PDF) would allow the EPA to continue work on regulating emissions from automobiles, but would block them from using funds from “this or any other Act” to create rules governing stationary sources until after Sept. 30, 2010.

She hopes to attach it to the $32.1 billion spending bill that the Senate took up debate on yesterday, which covers the appropriations for the EPA as well as the Department of Interior and the U.S. Forest Service.

This comes as the EPA continues work on regulating carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act, in response to the 2007 Supreme Court Decision directing them to do so.

A Murkowski spokesperson told ClimateWire that the senator wants to respect the court’s decision, but that a one-year timeout is needed to give Congress enough time to come up with a legislative solution.

Update: Murkowski’s office informed TWI that this is not the most recent version of the proposed amendment. Her spokesperson said the senator is seeking bipartisan support for the amendment and does not yet have a final version ready to be introduced.

*Update: *Murkowski’s office just sent the text of the latest version of the amendment, which states:

Effective during the 1-year period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act, none of the funds made available for the Environmental Protection Agency under this Act may be expended to regulate or control carbon dioxide from any sources other than a mobile source as described in section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act or to treat carbon dioxide as a pollutant subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act except for purposes of section 10 202(a) of that Act.

*Update: *Here is the latest version of the amendment. Murkowski’s office said the senator is seeking bipartisan support for the amendment, and the language may still change. The spokesman said the senator has not made a final decision as to whether she will introduce the amendment, but will decide by mid-week.

The spokesperson also said that Murkowski does not want to thwart action on climate change entirely — just put if off for a bit longer. “Sen. Murkowski is not seeking to derail or delay congressional action on climate change,” said the spokesman. “She simply wants adequate time for the legislative process to work in order to avoid enacting a law that could have devastating unintended consequences on the economy.”

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