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Published:January 15th, 2011 10:29 EST
GOP Targeting Greenhouse-gas Regs

GOP Targeting Greenhouse-gas Regs

By SOP newswire2

`Last thing America can afford is to lock away our own resources`

New House Energy Committee Chairman Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., and his GOP colleagues figure the best environmental policy is for Congress to overturn the Obama EPA`s greenhouse-gas regulations, and he`s moving forward on that front, assembling a new legal team with the expertise to combat the rules critics describe as overreaching, WND has learned.

President Obama`s policies have been "job killing," Upton told WND, and his committee will "take the lead" in the new Congress and "foster a new era of job growth, fight rampant regulations, fortify our energy security, cut spending and reduce the size of government."

The Democrats last year tried but failed to pass a law to limit greenhouse gases and enable companies to buy and sell pollution permits, an idea known as "cap and trade." Conservatives call the plan "cap and tax" because it would raise energy prices. The measure passed former Speaker Nancy Pelosi`s House, even nabbing a vote from Republican Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., but was not brought to a vote in the Senate.

In response, the Obama administration is moving forward with plans to control power-plant and oil-refinery greenhouse emissions through new pollution standards set by the EPA that will be spelled out over the next year.

But Upton is planning a series of hearings this winter and spring to examine the analysis and data that the Obama EPA has relied on to write its rules. Rules that do not seem to be reasonable will be repealed by use of the Congressional Review Act, which enables Congress to revoke regulations within 60 days of their publication in the Federal Register by a simple majority vote.

As Sen. David Vitter, R-La., recently told WND, this is a priority for the Senate, too.

Upton said Obama should not be able to regulate what Democrats could not legislate when they had supermajorities in both houses of Congress.

Upton also called on Democrats to join the GOP in a sensible bipartisan compromise to mandate that the EPA delay its regulations until the courts complete their examination of the agency`s proposed rules. The state of Texas is challenging the rules in court.

Upton also is calling for an expansion of America`s energy-refining capacity by opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil and gas drilling, and opposes requiring electric utilities to use alternative energy sources such as wind for power generation.

"With rising energy prices and growing global demand, the last thing America can afford is to lock away our own resources and increase our dependence on foreign sources of energy," said Upton.

Green policy advocates are not pleased with the new GOP strategy and are mocking the idea of any deregulation of the industry.

"The EPA is tasked with creating rules and regulations to implement the Clean Air Act among other mandates," Jessica Green, an assistant professor of political science at Case Western Reserve University, told WND. "To this end, it has created rules for countless pollutants, none of which has met with the vehement objection that the proposed greenhouse-gas regulations have. In a word, there`s no strong precedent to suggest that this is an overreach by a federal agency."

According to Green, the Republican push-back on the issue shows that they are "behind the curve" internationally as well as within the U.S. on environmental policy.

"Ten states in the East and Mid-Atlantic region have already committed to a cap-and-trade system within the power sector, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative," she said.

"California also unilaterally established a statewide emissions cap (A.B. 32). This push by the Republicans is a procedural play to continue to block action on climate change, action which a number of states are already taking."

To combat the power of the environmental lobby, Upton has brought in a new team of skilled lawyers and other policy hands to help his committee, including a new deputy general counsel, Michael Bloomquist, formerly a partner at Wiley Rein LLP, an energy policy guru who previously was a GOP lawyer at the Interior Department; Todd Harrison, chief counsel for oversight, a former federal prosecutor in New York, who also worked with Patton Boggs, LLP; and John O`Shea, a senior health policy adviser, Harvard-trained physician and science policy expert, who previously worked at the Heritage Foundation.

"Our goal must be an `all of the above` strategy that safely and responsibly develops American-made energy," said Upton.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: For more than 20 years Brian Sussman served as the Bay Area`s most celebrated television science reporter and meteorologist, having earned honors from The Associated Press, the Radio-Television News Directors Association, the National Education Association, and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

He`s now the new morning man at KSFO (560 AM)the highest rated talk show in the San Francisco Bay Area and the fourth largest radio market in the country. A husband and father of four, Sussman is also well known for founding Brian[s Kids, an adoption advocacy organization that utilized the Bay Area television airwaves to introduce the public to foster children awaiting adoption. During the course of 12 years, Brian`s Kids assisted in the placement of more than 400 children in permanent, adoptive homes an accomplishment that gives Sussman, an adoptive father himself, a special sense of joy and fulfillment.

In 2001, Brian shocked the television community by daring to leave for a career in conservative talk radio. Joining the line-up on San Francisco`s KSFO-AM, Sussman has achieved huge ratings success with his program, Right Thinking from the Left Coast a steady source of irritation to the Bay Area`s liberal establishment.

By Gene Koprowski
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