Excellent news from Environment & Energy Daily (subscription required).
Several moderate Senate Democrats yesterday announced plans to oppose a GOP-led effort to stymie federal climate rules, which may be enough to sink the resolution scheduled for a vote this afternoon.
Some Democrats who were seen as potential backers of Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s resolution to veto U.S. EPA climate rules publicly announced that they plan to oppose the measure.
Moderate Democratic Sens. James Webb of Virginia, Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Mark Begich of Alaska all said they are likely to vote against the resolution today.
Debate on the measure is expected to kick off today at 9:30 a.m…
As far as I’m aware, this is the first time Webb’s said out loud that he would oppose this monstrosity. Thank you, Senator, and excellent work by everyone who called his office and told him to oppose this latest assault on the environment by Big Oil Republicans!
UPDATE: I just watched Webb’s floor speech. All I can say is, I’m happy he’s voting against the Murkowski monstrosity. Other than that, I really can’t follow his thinking on this one.
UPDATE #2: Webb’s statement is in the extended text. I agree with Webb that Congress shouldn’t cede its authority over dealing with climate change. That is, as long as Congress acts ASAP. If not, then they’ve de facto ceded their authority anyway. Also, I’d point out that Congress’ – and by that I mean the Senate’s – failure to act on this issue for years now indicates a dysfunctionality that probably won’t be cured in the next few weeks, months, or even years. Hence, the EPA option.
Today, Senator Jim Webb voted to oppose S.J. Res. 26, offered by Senator Lisa Murkowski, which would have rescinded of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) endangerment findings on carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases. Senator Webb instead urged his colleagues to support Senator Jay Rockefeller’s bill which would suspend EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gases from stationary sources for a period of two years, giving Congress the time it needs to address legitimate concerns over climate change.
However, during the debate on the Senate floor, Senator Webb warned that he would work to limit the broad authority of the current EPA finding.
“I do not believe that Congress should cede its authority over an issue as important as climate change to unelected officials of the Executive Branch,” said Senator Webb. “Without proper boundaries, this finding could be the first step in a long and expensive regulatory process that could lead to overly stringent and very costly controls on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. Congress – and not the EPA – should make important policies, and be accountable to the American people for them. I share the hope of many members of this body, from both sides of the aisle, that we can enact energy legislation this year to encourage the development of clean energy sources and carbon-mitigating technologies.”
Senator Webb noted his opposition to Senator Murkowski’s resolution derived from the fact that it would reverse significant progress that the Obama administration has made in forging a consensus on motor vehicle fuel economy and emissions standards. A little more than one year ago, the administration brokered an agreement to establish the One National Program for fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards-rather than a patchwork quilt of varying state and federal standards. This agreement is expected to save 1.8 billion barrels of oil and millions of dollars in consumer savings and is directly in line with the holding in Massachusetts v. EPA, which dealt specifically with motor vehicle emissions.
Senator Webb has long maintained that the centerpiece of any climate policy must be to encourage the development of clean energy sources and carbon-mitigating technologies. In November 2009, he introduced the Clean Energy Act of 2009 (S. 2776) with Senator Lamar Alexander. This bipartisan bill would promote further investment in clean energy technologies, including nuclear power and renewable sources of energy. Specifically, the Clean Energy Act of 2009 authorizes $20 billion over the next ten years to fund loan guarantees, nuclear education and workforce training, nuclear reactor lifetime-extension, and incentives for the development of solar power, biofuels, and alternative power technologies. This bill would augment any comprehensive climate and energy legislation by moving our country toward providing clean, carbon-free sources of energy, helping to invigorate the economy, and strengthening our workforce with educational opportunities and high-paying jobs.