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Committee Passes Bill Declaring Greenhouse Gases "Not Air Pollutants"

March 15, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

Republicans in Congress have moved one step closer to taking away the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate the greenhouse gases that are responsible for climate change. This afternoon, by a vote of 34-19, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the so-called Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011 that would amend the Clear Air to state that seven specific greenhouse gases, plus “any other substance subject to, or proposed to be subject to, regulation, action, or consideration under [the Clean Air Act] to address climate change,” are not “air pollutants,” and, therefore, can not be regulated by the EPA. The bill now goes to the full House for a vote on passage.

In the Senate, Republicans are moving parallel legislation, and they already have some Democrats supporting their efforts. According to Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Sen. Jeff Bingaman [D, NM], if the Republicans play their cards right, they may have the votes to pass this through the Senate and even override a presidential veto:

“I think the votes are there to uphold a presidential veto, if it comes to that,” Mr. Bingaman said. “But I’m not certain.”

Meanwhile, congressional Republicans are moving forward with their Roadmap for America’s Future Energy Act, which includes some controversial proposals that have won favor with some Democrats and President Obama — namely the expansion of offshore drilling and nuclear power plants. Read the full text of the Republicans’ energy roadmap bill here.

While we’re on the topic of energy, take a second to follow the money. Here’s OpenSecrets’ profile of the oil and gas industry’s political giving, dominated, of course, by the Koch Brothers’ huge support for Republican candidates. And here’s an OpenSecrets’ blog post outlining all the ways the nuclear industry has been buying influence with members of Congress from both parties.

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