Alabama Republican Rep. Gary Palmer wants to reassert Congress’s’ authority over the Environmental Protection Agency by putting the brakes on the agency’s global warming regulations.
“While the bill is focused on greenhouse gas regulations, the real crux of this bill is EPA and other agencies have given themselves too much power,” Palmer told The Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview.
Palmer’s bill, called the Stopping EPA Overreach Act of 2015, will prohibit the EPA from regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act unless Congress passes legislation allowing the agency to do so. The bill has 107 original co-sponsors.
“Congress needs to reassert itself as the lawmaking branch,” Palmer said.
The EPA has finalized at least 15 major greenhouse gas regulations since 2009 – when the agency declared greenhouse gases indirectly harmed public health. The Supreme Court first gave the EPA the green light to issue global warming regulations under the Clean Air Act in 2007, and the agency soon began issuing rules after President Obama took office.
Palmer argues the Clean Air Act was never intended to be a tool to fight global warming. The same goes for the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the Endangered Species Act of 1973. These laws were meant to regulate traditional air pollutants, Palmer said, and not fight global warming.
Palmer’s bill would require the EPA to do an economic analyses for all its regulations, and any agency rule having a negative impact on employment must be approved by Congress and signed by the president.
EPA finalized its most far-reaching greenhouse gas regulations in August, rules to limit carbon dioxide emissions from new and existing power plants. These rules are expected to force hundreds of coal-fired generators across the country to prematurely retire leaving states, like Alabama, scrambling to build new power plants.
EPA supporters say the rule is necessary to get the rest of the world to sign onto a global climate deal when United Nations delegates meet in Paris this month. The Obama administration hopes EPA rules will convince the world leaders they’re serious about tackling global warming.
But rules to fight global warming will be costly and yield virtually no benefits for Americans. A study by the right-leaning american Action Forum found EPA greenhouse gas rules will cost Americans $73 billion a year and only avoid 0.2 degrees of projected warming.
Palmer’s bill, however, is likely to be vetoed by President Obama if it passes out of the Senate.