Republicans Oppose Obama Administration Push for Environmental Regulation

The Obama administration’s EPA push for stricter environmental regulation faces stiff opposition from the GOP, according to the Green Energy Reporter at the

Republican opposition comes from Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, and two House members, Fred Upton of Michigan and Ed Whitfield of Kentucky. They released new legislation intended to handcuff the EPA’s proposed restrictions on greenhouse gases and carbon emissions.

Upton’s role is seen as important. He’s the new Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce committee, likely ensuring easier passage of the bill through the House. Previously, Upton was thought to be a Republican moderate on environment issues but this about face looks to be a move to the right, which he needed to secure the chairmanship.

An industry source said the Michigan congressman’s move is puzzling considering his state’s reliance on government subsidies to support the emerging electric car industry.

Inhofe’s involvement is seen as less surprising considering he has been a long time critic of climate change science and a powerful advocate of oil and gas interests.

The Inhofe-Upton-Whitfield bill is aimed at preventing a “back-door” carbon tax from the EPA which some Democrats also oppose, like Jay Rockefeller from West Virginia, a large coal producing state.

Last year’s abandonment of carbon credit legislation by the Obama administration, due to lackluster support from his party in Congress, led the President to push for the EPA regulatory route. Last year, EPA head Lisa Jackson ruled that the Clean Air Act gave her agency the authority to regulate carbon emissions. Business leaders balked as they preferred the cap and trade route over stricter regulation.

It’s not expected the bill will have much success getting through the Senate, where Democrats still hold a majority. Majority Leader Harry Reid has been a staunch ally of the EPA in the past.

Obama’s push for an ambitious clean energy policy is felt to be somewhat unexpected following his party’s drubbing in the midterm elections. Obama met with Democratic Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico to lay out the strategy of his clean energy policy.

Bingaman, a clean energy advocate, expressed disappointment with the administration last year for its support of clean coal technology and nuclear energy. Bingaman said, however, that he would work to support the President’s current policy.

Author: Danny Vo

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