Appropriators barely reject 2-year delay on EPA regs

A House Appropriations subcommittee voted today not to impose a two-year delay on U.S. EPA regulation of greenhouse gases from stationary sources, despite two votes from Democrats.

The amendment to the Interior and Environment fiscal 2011 spending bill would have postponed EPA's plan to require some power plants, refineries and other major sources of carbon dioxide emissions to obtain permits under the federal Clean Air Act.

It was a single vote from passage, ending in a 7-7 deadlock when Reps. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.) and Ben Chandler (D-Ky.) voted along with all panel Republicans.

A similar measure introduced by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) will go to the Senate floor at some point this year, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said last month (Greenwire, June 16).

Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio), the amendment's sponsor, said it was intended to override the "arbitrary starting dates" that make some large sources subject to regulations before other facilities.

"To those who would argue that the world cannot afford to wait another day, I would ask them to show the science prescribing the complex timetables and thresholds laid out by EPA's tailoring rule," LaTourette said. "The fact is, the EPA did what they thought was best to balance science and policy, and that is basically what we're trying to do with this amendment."

Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Jim Moran (D-Va.) said it was counterproductive because the agency was under court order to make a decision on greenhouse gases. He denied that EPA was taking a "scattershot" approach, saying it would not be able to issue permits if blocked by the subcommittee.

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