Murkowski Resolution Fails in Senate

New EPA regulations would require permitting for both stationary sources of CO2 emissions, like this feeding operation, and from mobile sources like cars and trucks.

The Senate on Thursday rejected a measure that would have restricted the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate carbon emissions, by a vote of 47-53.

Republicans touted the resolution of disapproval — championed by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) — as a way to curb government overreach on environmental issues. But Democrats dismissed it as a vehicle that would have undercut environmental progress made by the Clean Air Act.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman expressed disappointment with the Senate’s refusal Thursday to halt the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of greenhouse gases by failing to approve S.J. Res. 26, known as the Murkowski resolution. “This was one of the most important votes in the Senate this year affecting U.S. agriculture,” Stallman said.

“Additional EPA regulation for farmers will likely mean higher food costs for consumers because of higher input and energy costs to grow our food and result in negative economic impacts on the agriculture sector,” Stallman said.

Sen. Murkowski (R-AK) right, and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) left, leave a news conference on Capitol Hill yesterday.

“Importantly, this vote also brought into question who should decide our nation’s energy policy—elected lawmakers or a regulatory agency.  It is regrettable the Senate answered this question as it did. The vote against S.J. Res. 26 allows EPA to embark on the ambitious and unprecedented regulation of the American economy without congressional input,” the AFBF president emphasized.

President Obama applauded the vote, saying Murkowski’s plan “which would have increased our dependence on oil by blocking efforts to cut the harmful pollution that contributes to climate change” in a statement issued Thursday night. He called the vote “yet another reminder of the urgent need to pass legislation that would help America transition to a 21st century clean energy economy that would create jobs, strengthen our national security, and protect our environment for our children.”

Murkowski, the ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, introduced her resolution in January to challenge the EPA’s so-called endangerment findings, which the agency is set to use as a basis for greenhouse gas regulations next year.

All Republican senators voted yes, while Democratic Sens. Evan Bayh of Indiana, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia joined the Republicans in voting yes.


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