No vote on Murkowski's EPA amendment -- Reid

This story was updated at 1:40 p.m. EDT.

Senate leaders reached an agreement today allowing votes on a limited number of amendments to the annual spending bill for environmental agencies, excluding a controversial amendment that would limit U.S. EPA's regulatory authority.

The amendment from Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) that would prohibit EPA for one year from regulating stationary sources of carbon dioxide emissions was not among those amendments granted votes under the agreement, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced today.

Reid said that he would no longer seek a cloture vote on the spending bill.

Under the unanimous consent agreement, Murkowski will have 30 minutes to speak on the floor on her amendment.


Murkowski's amendment has come under fire in recent days from administration officials and environmental groups. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said in a letter yesterday that because of the way the Clean Air Act is written, the amendment would "pull the plug" on EPA's proposed greenhouse gas emissions standards for automobiles.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said today that it opposes the adoption of the amendment, citing concerns that it may significantly affect regulations for the mobile source sector, despite language in the amendment that would appear to leave the sector unaffected.

Murkowski has insisted that the amendment will not interfere with EPA regulations aimed at limiting mobile source emissions.

The remaining amendments:

  • A proposal from Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) on President Obama's use of policy "czars," or presidential advisers whose appointments were not subject to Senate confirmation. Collins' measure would prevent federal funding to pay the expenses of those officials until two conditions are met: The president would have to certify to Congress that all czars respond to reasonable information requests from congressional committees and each official would have to issue a public report twice a year describing their office and any rule, regulation or policy they participated in developing or directed.
  • A bid by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) to bar use of funds in the spending bill for implementing policies "at the direction" of White House climate and energy adviser Carol Browner.
  • Sen. Johnny Isakson's (R-Ga.) proposal encouraging the participation of the Smithsonian Institution in preserving the papers of Martin Luther King Jr.
  • A motion from Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) to recommit the bill to committee with instructions, due to his objection that the bill increases spending for environmental agencies 16 percent over the previous year.
  • A Reid amendment to make funds available for preliminary planning and design of a green building to consolidate multiple EPA facilities in Las Vegas.

There are also eight amendments from Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). Those amendments would:

  • Address requirements for adding or removing property in a national heritage area, requiring that no private property be included unless the owner makes a written request.
  • Require that any report submitted by a federal agency to the House or Senate Appropriations panels be posted on the committees' Web sites.
  • Cancel $1 million directed to the Sewall-Belmont House in Washington, D.C., and instead give that money to the National Park Service for its maintenance backlog.
  • Prevent money in the bill from being used to impede or restrict activities of the Department of Homeland Security to achieve "operational control" of U.S. international borders.
  • Prevent funding for the implementation of any regulation that would delay or restrict the development of renewable energy on public lands and transmission lines necessary for delivering the electricity produced.
  • Divert money from the Land and Water Conservation Fund for land acquisition to instead be used by federal agencies to reduce their maintenance backlogs.
  • Require the president within 120 days of submitting the 2011 budget request to submit a report describing the annual cost of maintaining all federal land holdings for the previous three years.
  • Prohibit any no-bid contracts and grants.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) will also get a vote on her second-degree amendment to modify Coburn's no-bid measure.

Manager's amendment

The following were agreed to as part of a managers' amendment:

  • An amendment from Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) to provide funds for the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration.
  • An amendment from Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) that would shift $2 million from Henry's Lake Area of Critical Environmental Concern in Idaho to the Upper Snake/South Fork River Area of Critical Environmental Concern in Idaho.
  • A measure from Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) to require EPA to conduct a study on black carbon emissions.
  • An amendment from Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) that would encourage EPA to consider all appropriate criteria relating to the buyout and relocation of residents of Treece, Kan., whose health is endangered by mining waste, known as chat.
  • A measure from Feinstein that would make technical corrections to certain state and tribal assistance grants.
  • A Feinstein amendment that would modify a controversial provision she included in the Interior spending bill allowing an oyster company to continue operating in an area scheduled to become federal wilderness. While her original proposal would require the Interior secretary to issue a permit to allow Drake's Bay Oyster Co. to continue operating for 10 years after its current permit expires in 2012, Feinstein's amendment would authorize -- but not require -- the secretary to do so. The issue has been contentious in California, pitting proponents of fishing and local food production against environmental advocates.
  • An amendment from Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) to allow the Forest Service, in addition to the Agricultural Research Service, to enter cooperative agreements with private entities to provide facilities and technical expertise for pilot plants and other large-scale preparation facilities to help develop biobased technologies, which are derived from renewable agricultural or forestry materials. It would also allow federal equipment to be rented to the private entities.
  • An amendment from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) that would affirm that the Senate supports the National Vehicle Mercury Switch Recovery Program, an initiative that aims to keep mercury out of recycled metal.
  • A Bingaman amendment to modify the composition of the board of directors of the National Forest Foundation.
  • An amendment from Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) to support the Pest and Disease Revolving Loan Fund.
  • A measure from Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) to limit the increase in cabin user fees in national forests.
  • An amendment from Bingaman to create a contingency fund to pay for some of the country's largest and most expensive wildfires.



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