House Republicans, anxious to make good on last fall's campaign promises, are promoting early passage of a law ordering the Environmental Protection Agency to refrain from enacting costly and job-destroying regulations aimed at limited carbon dioxide emissions.
Because the EPA claims to act under the Clean Air Act, enacted by Congress in the first place, there's no doubt lawmakers have the power to do that.
Rep. Fred Upton, chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Sen. James Inhofe readied draft legislation Wednesday that would stop the EPA from regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. A fellow Republican, Sen. John Barrasso, introduced a more wide-ranging bill Monday that would also stop the EPA from regulating the gases.
Supporters of the massive new regulatory scheme complain the move is premature -- the EPA has not yet issued the regulations, though they're in the works -- and also argue the move amounts to pointless symbolism, because Senate passage is uncertain and the White House has threatened to veto the measure even if it arrives on the president's desk.
But so onerous are these proposed rules that a defeat in the Senate is by no means certain.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat from coal-rich West Virginia, reintroduced legislation Monday that would delay the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases for two years. Several other Senate Democrats -- from states whose economies depend heavily on fossil fuels -- are backing the bill.
Many of those senators are up for re-election in 2012. Do they want to go before voters having embraced a regulatory scheme that will drive up electric bills and make America more dependent on foreign oil, while also costing local jobs?
More importantly, a new and more conservative House majority -- inheriting a far from impressive GOP reputation for going along with the costly and economically crippling regulatory state -- is wise to move quickly to define for voters what they stand for.
All the more so if they can demonstrate, by eliciting a presidential veto, that what the present administration stands for is a vastly expensive, economically crippling, job-destroying agenda, which can accomplish nothing.
Even if you buy arguments that man is causing the Earth's temperature to rise to dangerous levels, under what theory can the EPA's heavy-handed agenda help reduce global temperatures, given that India and Red China are continuing to build coal-fired power plants, with minimal if any emissions controls, as fast as they please?