Murkowski Seeks Vote on Amendment on EPA Regulation of Carbon Dioxide

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today introduced an amendment to the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill that would give Congress the time it needs to develop a responsible response to climate change.

Murkowski plans to ask that her amendment be considered for a vote on the Senate floor this afternoon, immediately following the 4:15 stacked votes.

Murkowski, the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and a strong proponent of moving the nation toward a cleaner energy future, said the amendment is necessary to avoid the “economic train wreck” that would result from the Environmental Protection Agency regulating stationary sources of carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act.

“Very clearly, stationary sources must reduce emissions in order to bring our nation to its climate goal,” Murkowski said. “But forcing them to do so through the Clean Air Act would be one of the least efficient and most damaging ways to pursue that goal. It would be rife with unintended consequences, and could be devastating for our economy.”

Specifically, Murkowski’s amendment would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from spending money on regulating carbon dioxide from stationary sources under the Clean Air Act for a period of one year.

Murkowski said the regulation of carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act is being used as a “thinly veiled threat” against the Senate to force action on climate legislation “regardless of where we are in what remains an ongoing and incredibly important debate.”

Murkowski’s amendment would simply remove the gun from the Senate’s head and allow time for a full and robust debate.

“Anyone who reads my amendment will see that I went to great lengths to ensure it does not lead to any unintended or adverse consequences. It has been drafted and redrafted to limit one action by the EPA, for one year, and nothing else,” Murkowski said. “I’ve been responsive to bipartisan requests, even from members who I knew wouldn’t be able to support this amendment, because I am committed to avoiding an overreach.”

The result is an amendment that will not interfere or conflict with any other regulation or action that the EPA is obliged to complete. That goes for preparatory work for the regulation of carbon dioxide emissions. It also holds true for the rule to expand the Renewable Fuel Standard; for construction permits; and for regulations to foster the development of clean coal technologies.  

“My amendment will not, in any way, impact EPA’s authority relating to the reporting of greenhouse gas emissions, its ability to develop a voluntary carbon offset program, issue permits for energy infrastructure on or near federal land, or move forward with the important work of both exploring for and producing the vast reserves of domestic energy on our Outer Continental Shelf,” Murkowski said.