Monday, February 22, 2010

Alaska Senator Mark Begich Joins Seven Other Democrats In Challenging The EPA's Authority To Regulate "Greenhouse Gases"

Now we know for a certainty that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has become a law unto itself. Its behavior has become so odious and tyrannical that even Democrats are chafing at the bit - and speaking out against it.

The Anchorage Daily News reports that Alaska's junior Senator Mark Begich has joined seven other Democratic senators in signing a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson challenging its authority to arbitrarily regulate the pollution which is blamed for so-called "global warming". The lawmakers said the agency lacks the power to restrict greenhouse gases from stationary sources such as power plants, factories and mines, and claimed that Congress -- not the EPA -- should address an issue with big implications for thousands of U.S. jobs and businesses. In addition to Begich, the letter, which poses eight specific questions to Jackson, was signed by Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, Robert Byrd of West Virginia, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Carl Levin of Michigan, and Max Baucus of Montana; you can read the letter HERE.

These seven are not the only Senate Democrats objecting to the EPA's preemptory action. In January, Democrats Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas signed onto a resolution by Sen. Lisa Murkowski that would bar the EPA from issuing regulations to control greenhouse gases (GHG). Murkowski filed it in response to an EPA finding in December that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases endanger human health. The EPA has proposed to regulate six different GHG pollutants under the Clean Air Act; their power comes from the "endangerment finding" which resulted from a Supreme Court order. In April 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court in Massachusetts v. EPA ordered that the EPA must scientifically determine whether greenhouse gases (GHGs) from new motor vehicles cause or contribute to air pollution which endangers public health.

Senator Murkowski said she welcomed the new letter from her seven Democratic colleagues and noted that 41 senators from both parties support her resolution (S.J.Res.26) to halt EPA's actions. Barack Obama is believed to have goaded the EPA into suddenly pursuing this at this time in order to politically blackmail the Senate into approving his radical environmental agenda.

In the letter, the Democrats said they did not object in principle to EPA regulation of emissions from cars and light trucks, but questioned the agency's ability to do anything further under the Clean Air Act. The letter asked Jackson to clarify the EPA's timetable and suspend any regulations for coal-fired utilities and other industrial facilities until Congress acts on climate and energy legislation. However, there was an embedded threat within the letter; the lawmakers reminded the EPA that there are legislative efforts to disallow further agency action based upon the endangerment finding. So the lawmakers are letting the EPA know that Congress is not to be taken for granted.

This is overdue. In particular, it is gratifying to see Mark Begich work more explicitly on behalf of Alaska. During his 2009 rookie year, Begich did very little to actually help Alaska. Like it or not, we're stuck with him until 2014; if he fails, Alaska will be hurt. Thus it is not in our interest to hope that Mark Begich turns out to be a failure.

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