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Late last year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an “endangerment finding” stating that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases were a threat to “both the public health and the public welfare of current and future generations.” As a result, the EPA now has the authority to issue sweeping new regulations that could prove devastating to the U.S. economy. The endangerment finding allows the agency to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, which was designed to regulate specific pollutants rather than something as ubiquitous as carbon dioxide. Sen. Lisa Murkowski has introduced a resolution of disapproval to keep the EPA implementing regulations before Congress has completed its own deliberations on climate change. On behalf of the 970,000 members of FreedomWorks, I urge you to support the Murkowski resolution, voting yes on the motion to proceed, and yes on the resolution.
The Murkowski resolution is a prudent step, given the current state of the economy and the fact that Congress is still debating climate change policy. Any attempts to regulate greenhouse gases by the EPA would have substantial impacts on consumers and small businesses, raising costs and slowing job growth. Congress should be allowed to continue its deliberations without being threatened by regulatory initiatives at the EPA.
The EPA’s effort to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act would be an unprecedented expansion in regulation. Because carbon dioxide is omnipresent, virtually any economic activity could trigger tough new mandates. Rather than promoting a much-needed economic recovery, these new mandates would further hamper economic growth and push more jobs overseas to countries such as China and India, which have refused to implement costly new regulations on their economies. And this lack of global participation suggests that sweeping new EPA regulations would have virtually no impact on global temperatures.
That the regulations would impose significant new costs on the economy there is no doubt. In fact, even the EPA is seeking to dampen the impact of potential new regulations through a so-called “tailoring rule” which would allow the agency to arbitrarily exclude some sectors of the economy from burdensome new mandates. However, the Clean Air itself does not allow tailoring; even if such tinkering could survive a legal challenge, it just demonstrates the alarming new discretion and control over the economy that the EPA would wield.
Massive new regulations to control greenhouse gases will undoubtedly inflict significant new costs on the economy, which is perhaps why Congress has yet to finalize any climate change legislation. Allowing the EPA to intervene in this process raises important legal questions while limiting any further discussion in Congress. With continuing unemployment and lagging economic growth, America cannot afford the added costs of increased regulation that would threaten the economic recovery and the nation’s global competitiveness.
We will count your vote on both the “motion to proceed” to the Murkowski resolution and the vote on the Murkowski resolution itself as KEY VOTES when calculating the FreedomWorks Economic Freedom Scorecard for 2010. The Economic Freedom Scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the Jefferson Award, which recognizes members of Congress with voting records that support economic freedom.
President and CEO
[Click here to view a pdf version of this letter]