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Sen. Stabenow joins the climate action delayers

By Climate Guest Contributor on March 31, 2011 at 5:21 pm

"Sen. Stabenow joins the climate action delayers"

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Her amendment, like others to be voted on next week, would stop vital carbon-pollution safeguards

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) has joined the pro-polluter frenzy sweeping the U.S. Senate, introducing legislation to permanently cripple Clean Air Act rules on global warming pollution.  Brad Johnson has the story.

The small business legislation, the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011 (S. 493), introduced by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), is being used as a vehicle for senators who wish to prevent regulation of greenhouse pollution from oil refineries, coal-fired power plants, heavy industry, and other major emitters. Stabenow has added her amendment to three others intended to hamstring the Environmental Protection Agency on behalf of carbon polluters.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has introduced amendment 183, the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011, first introduced by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK). The amendment is cosponsored by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Pat Toomey (R-PA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA). The amendment calls for:

- The permanent prohibition on Clean Air Act regulation of greenhouse gases, other than the existing motor vehicle rules

- Repeal of the greenhouse gas endangerment finding and reporting requirements

- Preventing any future California waiver for tailpipe greenhouse emissions

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) has introduced amendment 215, the EPA Stationary Source Regulations Suspension Act, co-sponsored by Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), and Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND). The amendment calls for:

- A two-year suspension of stationary source regulations of carbon dioxide and methane.

Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) has introduced amendment 236, which has three elements:

- Forbidding regulation of greenhouse gases from a emitter that doesn’t also produce other regulated air pollution

- Codification of the EPA tailoring rule that establishes a 75,000 ton CO2e/year threshold for regulation

- Excluding regulation of biofuel greenhouse emissions related to land-use changes, or of any greenhouse emissions from other agricultural activities

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) has introduced amendment 265, which has four elements:

- A two-year suspension of stationary source greenhouse gas regulations

- Preventing any future California waiver for tailpipe greenhouse emissions

- Excluding regulation of biofuel greenhouse emissions related to land-use changes, or of any greenhouse emissions from other agricultural activities

- Allocating $5 billion to the Advanced Energy Project tax credit

Votes on some combination of these amendments [are expected next week].

Brad Johnson, in a WonkRoom cross-post.

Stabenow has introduced a new version of her delaying legislation. NRDC’s David Doniger has the details:
On Wednesday, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) filed another version of her amendment to the small business bill to block EPA from curbing dangerous carbon pollution (#277)….  Here’s a rundown on the harm the current amendment would do.

  • The Stabenow amendment says that no carbon pollution requirements (other than motor vehicle standards) will be “legally effective” for two years.  History shows that once enacted, delays are easily extended for many years.  So like the Rockefeller amendment, the Stabenow amendment is a tactic for effectively repealing EPA’s authority to set carbon pollution safeguards for most industries.
  • The amendment would block EPA from implementing carbon pollution performance standards for GHG emissions power plants and oil refineries, which EPA plans to issue by 2012.  These are the two biggest industrial sources of carbon pollution – power plants spew out 2.4 billion tons of CO2 per year, and refineries emit another 200 million tons.  Compliance with these standards would be stopped indefinitely if the amendment is extended.
  • The amendment would block the Clean Air Act’s common sense requirement that someone – usually the state but EPA as a last resort – reviews what the biggest new or expanded plants can reasonably do to reduce their carbon pollution and puts achievable and affordable pollution limits into each plant’s construction permit.  This is nothing different from what big new plants have done for decades for other pollutants.  Carbon pollution reviews began in January and have been working smoothly.  But the amendment would call that to a halt, and indefinitely if extended.
  • The amendment would “cook the books” by permanently excluding carbon emissions from agriculture and land-use-change (i.e., forest clearing) from the calculation of a source’s pollution levels.  So that means ignoring all the carbon emissions from chopping down thousands of acres of forest to burn it in a power plant.  It just denies the science to pretend you can chop down forests without causing massive carbon pollution.  This Enron-style accounting could affect other parts of the Clean Air Act, such as the renewable fuels program.
  • The revised amendment would still block carbon emissions monitoring and reporting requirements, because those requirements would become not ”legally effective.”  Power plants have had to report their CO2 emissions for more than 15 years.  And other big industries had to monitor their carbon emissions starting in 2010, with reports due later this year.  Because these sensible monitoring requirements would become legally ineffective, we won’t know how much pollution industry is producing.

These are all reasons why the Stabenow amendment even as amended will harm Americans’ health and should be rejected.

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3 Responses to Sen. Stabenow joins the climate action delayers

  1. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    You’ve created yourself a lovely little kakisto-plutocracy over there. We’re not far behind here, but our politicians have not, yet, reached the depths of irrationalism and anti-scientific obscurantism that yours have, but they’re working on it!. I think that it marginally lessens humanity’s chances of surviving to have the planet’s (for now) leading techno-scientific power hobbled by an outbreak of mass imbecility, but the Chinese, Indians, Europeans et al have not yet gone barmy, so there remains hope. It does guarantee the eclipse of the USA as global hegemon, but that will be mourned almost nowhere, and, in the end, will do the people of the USA, if not the ruling elites, a power of good. After all imagine what you could do if you spent the 1.2 trillion a year that you waste on terrorising other countries into submission on clean energy and environmental repair.

  2. Dana says:

    I agree EPA GHG regulation isn’t ideal. The two alternatives are to implement some sort of climate policy, or stick our heads in the sand. I can understand why Republicans would choose the latter, but Democrats should not. They should only give Republicans two options – climate legislation, or EPA regulation. By proposing to delay EPA regulation, they’re just caving in to Republican head-in-the-sand denial. This is unacceptable.

  3. Leland Palmer says:

    Jeez, is this the same Stabenow who made so much sense at the Senate climate hearings of a year or so ago?

    Attack of the climate zombies, for sure.

    It’s a shame that the Senate is apparently composed of herd animals.

    It’s a kind of dark ages, or something.

    We need to emerge from it, very soon. :(