Vote Looming on Climate Change Policy
The Senate is expected to conduct a highly significant vote on climate change policy when it returns from the Memorial Day recess. Senator Murkowski (R-AK) reached an agreement with Senate leaders for a vote on the Resolution of Disapproval (S J Res 26) which, if passed by the House and Senate and signed into law, would roll back EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
Under an agreement reached between Senator Murkowski (R-AK) and Majority Leader Reid (D-NV), the Senate will conduct a highly significant vote on climate change policy. The action, which is expected when the Senate returns from the Memorial Day recess, comes after Senator Murkowski (R-AK) reached an agreement with Senate leaders for a vote on the Resolution of Disapproval (S J Res 26) to be scheduled for June 10. The resolution, if passed by the House and Senate and signed into law, would roll back EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
A unanimous consent agreement to schedule the vote will be presented to the Senate on May 25. Without the agreement, under rules governing the process to consider the Resolution a vote would have had to be scheduled on or before June 7. Because the Senate returns from the Memorial Day recess on June 7, the agreement to schedule a vote on June 10 gives Senator Murkowski and her allies additional time to generate support.
Under the rules for its consideration, the measure cannot be filibustered so it requires a simple majority to pass. However, there may be efforts to undermine support by introducing measures that would be less far reaching in impact. For example, Senator Rockefeller (D-WV) has introduced legislation which would delay EPA action for two years but it has yet to be considered. Other measures have been introduced which would allow EPA to regulate tailpipe emissions but not stationary sources.
The resolution would overturn the EPA’s December 2009 endangerment finding that greenhouse gases qualify as dangerous pollutants under the Clean Air Act. That decision triggered a requirement that the agency move to regulate them.
Even if Senator Murkowski’s resolution was to be adopted by the Senate, it would face a tough time in the House and a certain presidential veto. Rejection of the resolution would allow the EPA to proceed with regulation.
The endangerment finding was a response to a 2007 Supreme Court decision that directed the EPA to determine whether greenhouse gas emissions threaten human health.
The NCC has consistently supported Senate consideration and approval of the resolution as a means to moderate what has been perceived as overly aggressive action by EPA which is not entirely science based. Further, given the adverse impact on US farms and manufacturers in a sluggish economy and absent commitments from US competitors, the unilateral action will further weaken the