Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) and 10 other conservative senators introduced sweeping legislation that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating heat-trapping emissions from power stations and industrial plants without permission from Congress.
The bill would also bar all federal agencies from considering the impact of greenhouse gas emissions when implementing existing laws, such as the Endangered Species Act.
“My bill will shrink Washington’s job-crushing agenda and grow America’s economy,” said Barrasso, an outspoken skeptic of climate change.
“I will do whatever it takes to ensure that Washington doesn’t impose cap-and-trade policies in any form.”
Environmental groups and Democratic senators fired back immediately, with Massachusetts Senator John Kerry charging that Barrasso’s bill “puts the public health at risk and encourages the outsourcing of American jobs.”
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee chairwoman Barbara Boxer said the legislation threatens bipartisan efforts to serve the public by protecting the environment.
“Since president Nixon signed the Clean Air Act in 1970, Republicans and Democrats in Congress have worked together to protect American families from dangerous pollution,” Boxer said in a statement. “The Republican effort now to turn their back on the health of the American people will be resisted by those of us who believe it is our responsibility to make life better for the people we serve.”
Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey accused the Republican senators of seeking to please industrial emitters, saying: “The health of our children must come before the interests of polluters.”
While the Democratic-controlled Senate and White House can block the effort to curb powers on emissions, the proposed bill demonstrates that it will be impossible for Democrats to pass legislation on climate change. Obama’s “cap-and-trade” bill to force emissions standards halted in Congress last year.