Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sen. Boxer circles the wagons

Prospects for passage were questionable. US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) nevertheless sent a letter on Jan. 11 signed by all 12 of the committee’s Democrats urging other senators to vote against Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alas.) bill concerning the Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas endangerment finding.

“Debating policy choices regarding the appropriate response to unchecked climate change is fair, and the Senate will continue to evaluate the best tools for addressing greenhouse gas emissions, but repealing an endangerment finding based upon years of work by America's scientists and public health experts is not appropriate,” the letter said.

Murkowski announced on Dec. 14 that she intended to file a disapproval resolution to stop EPA from regulating GHGs under the Clean Air Act. While there were reports that she might seek a Senate floor vote on Jan. 20, it still wasn’t clear the day before what the resolution would be or whether she would actually press for a vote.

“We don’t know exactly what she will offer. She has a wide range of options. She might seek to remove the trigger completely or give Congress more time to deal with it,” Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-ND), who serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee with her, said during a Jan. 19 press teleconference.

“My preference is that Congress, not EPA, address these issues,” he continued. “I recognize that EPA is under a directive as a result of a court decision. This creates pressure on Congress, which is best equipped to address it.”

Boxer might want to consider redirecting her concern. The vote that potentially matters most to climate change legislative prospects is not one which might (or might not) come later in the Senate, but the one in which Massachusetts voters elected Republican Scott Brown over Democrat Martha Coakley to succeed the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.


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