As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Lisa Murkowski Plans To Melt The World

The Senate is a club bound and determined to do absolutely nothing in the most boisterous and attention-grabbing way possible. It is filled with the kind of people who get angry when told they're a bunch of do-nothings while holding fast to the ideal of doing nothing. Indeed, there are US Senators like Jim Inhofe who plan to lead a delegation to Copenhagen to tell the world proudly that the Senate will do nothing on climate change.

This is what the Administration has to deal with. So, unsurprisingly, faced with the prospect of Copenhagen fracturing, and rather than being left in China's wake as the world's biggest polluter without a strategy to deal with a warming planet, the White House instructed the EPA to come up with some goals under the law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Supreme Court essentially ratified this already. So as a last-ditch attempt to do absolutely nothing, Lisa Murkowski wants to stop the EPA.

WASHINGTON — Environmentalists say they're disappointed in a proposal by Sen. Lisa Murkowski to force the Environmental Protection Agency to hold off for a year on regulating so-called "stationary" emitters of greenhouse gases, such as power plants.

The Alaska Republican's proposal essentially forbids the EPA from working to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and large manufacturers while the Senate continues to work on its own global warming proposal. It would not keep the agency from continuing work on emission standards from mobile sources, such as automobile emissions.

"The Senate is moving so slowly it's disingenuous to say we just need a time out," said Frank O'Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch. "They want to handcuff the EPA."

Murkowski, the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee, plans to introduce the proposal in an amendment to a spending bill. Her proposal does not have the backing of the EPA, which is currently working to comply with a 2007 Supreme Court decision, Massachusetts v. EPA, which requires the agency to determine whether certain greenhouse gas emissions are harmful to the environment and public health.

Believe it or not, Murkowski is seen as one of the gettable votes in the Senate on climate change.

While the Senate dithers, the courts have consistently ruled, including just this week, that carbon is a pollutant and governmental entities can sue or create regulations to limit those emissions. Only some members of the Senate want to revoke that power, and they plan to use multiple steps to force the hand of the other branches.

It's quite a political system we've got here.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,