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Press Release

Senate Votes to Abdicate Its Responsibility, Giving the EPA the Green Light to Impose Costly Climate Change Regulations

FreedomWorks is disappointed that the U.S. Senate voted down a “motion to proceed” to a final vote on S. J. Res. 26., Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s resolution of disapproval of the EPA’s (Environmental Protection Agency’s) carbon dioxide regulations.  Today’s vote clears the way for the EPA to enact sweeping new regulations that will have significant impact on consumers and small businesses.  The EPA is already moving forward with these regulations, despite the fact that Congress itself has yet to address climate change.


“This is clearly a case where unelected officials at the Environmental Protection Agency will be leapfrogging Congress, which is not finished with its deliberations on climate change.  A decision of this magnitude should be made by the legislative body, which is responsible to the voters,” said Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks.  “Once again, Washington is ignoring grassroots America to pursue its own agenda.  And it’s doing so by sneaking climate change regulations through the back door.”


The motion to proceed, which failed on a 47-53 vote, would have stopped the EPA from using the Clean Air Act to impose new regulations on carbon dioxide emissions.  Doing so will be both costly and burdensome, because the Clean Air Act was meant to regulate specific pollutants, and not something as widespread as carbon dioxide, which is a byproduct of almost all economic activity.  Even the EPA recognizes this problem, and has proposed a “tailoring rule” to exempt some businesses from the regulations.  But the Clean Air Act does not allow such arbitrary discretion, and the “tailoring rule” will most likely be bogged down in legal battles that it may not survive. 


“Using the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon dioxide is like using a hammer to drive a screw; it’s the wrong tool for the wrong job,” said Kibbe.  “Congress is supposed to tackle these tough decisions because they can be held accountable by the people; instead, they are handing these decisions over to unelected bureaucrats with little oversight.  Unfortunately, consumers will bear the burden of the EPA’s actions, just like they did with the TARP bailout—another instance where the legislature abdicated it’s responsibility to make law and instead just ceded power to the executive branch bureaucrats.  And we all know the problems that created.”