Home > Energy Policy, Environment > EPA is a primary target in new Congress

EPA is a primary target in new Congress

Congress is back in session – with a new Republican majority in the House of Representatives (Democrats maintain the Senate majority) – and things are already heating up on the energy and environment front. A primary target… the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and more specifically the agency’s ability t regulate carbon dioxide emissions. The intensity of this attack, combined with its multi-pronged design calls into question the true goal (media spotlight or real change?) but are a clear sign that this issue is still a point of contention in Washington.

During the first full day  in session, House members ran to the microphone to introduce three bills aimed at limiting the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases. They also shut down the Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, which was established in 2006 by former House Speaker (now House Majority Leader), Nancy Pelosi. It appears that federal energy and climate actions are heading toward an uphill battle.

The three bills take distinct approaches to limiting EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas (specifically, carbon dioxide) emissions.

The first, introduced by  Marsha Blackburn (a Republican from Tennessee) seeks to eliminate EPA’s ability to regulate these emissions under the Clean Air Act (against the 2007 Supreme Court ruling that said the EPA should be allowed to regulate these emissions). Blackburn has historically been vocal about her opinions regarding the EPA’s ability to regulate these gases.

The second bill, introduced by Ted Poe (a Republican from Texas) seeks to block funding from any government agency associated with a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program. This could effectively tie the hands of any government organization that was tasked with administering a cap-and-trade program.

The third bill, introduced by Shelly Moore Capito (Republican from West Virginia) would delay any action by the EPA on the regulation of greenhouse gases by 2 years.

We will have to wait and see if any of these bills will be able to grab hold in the new session. But, it is clear that this issue with be a point of contention and much discussion over the next two years.

  1. January 17, 2011 at 1:48 pm


    The FED has doubled the money supply by printing fiat dollars backed by nothing. When OPEC sees the value of the dollar drop they raise the price per barrel and the price of gas at the pump goes up.

    But lower prices and American energy independence are possible if we burn America’s coal and natural gas.

    Why do we accept a 600 billion trade deficit with OPEC each year when America has 200- 300 years worth of natural gas and 1/4th the world’s coal reserves?

    Government policy based on the New World Order “Green” religion is the sole barricade to American energy independence. The doctrine of global warming maintains the status quo for OPEC and big oil; despite the fact the American people have rejected Cap & Trade.

    The German economy relied on coal gas during the Second World War as petroleum shortages forced Nazi Germany to develop the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis to produce synthetic fuel for aircraft and tanks.

    South Africa has no significant oil reserves, and relies on coal for most of its oil production. The country has a highly developed synthetic fuels industry, as well as small deposits of oil and natural gas.

    Sasol has been operating the Sasol-Lurgi fixed bed coal gasification process for more than fifty years, and with ninety seven units in operation still remains the world’s largest commercial application of this technology.

    Some economic models suggest gas from coal can compete when oil sells for $55 or more per barrel. Currently oil is approximately $100 a barrel.

    India and China are demanding more oil every year because their economies are growing. Instead of competing for past peak OPEC oil, America should utilize coal and natural gas to declare energy independence, create American jobs and improve our balance of trade.

    And it makes a lot more sense to convert America’s fleet to natural gas than to push electric cars with limited range. But creating an infrastructure to charge electric cars will require more coal fired electric generation. Only coal fired plants can be built quickly enough. Nuclear plants will take years to bring online.

    Waste Management Inc. will begin conversion of its diesel trash-hauling fleet in Vancouver later this year to compressed natural gas. The company estimates savings of 35-to-45 per cent in fuel costs

    Declaring American energy independence will free the USA from spending trillions on foreign wars and financing the terrorists who brought us 911. Can you imagine how many lives could have been saved and how much better America’s economy would be if the 1 trillion spent in Iraq had been spent in the USA?

    Global warming caused by man is not proven science despite all the government grants money doled out for the creation of supporting data! One wonders how many global cooling theories could have been purchased for the same grant money.

    And China is not surpassing America in clean energy development. It derives only 1% of its energy from alternate sources. But China does utilize all of its coal and natural gas resources and has recently signed a 50 billion dollar deal to import coal from Australia and is attempting similar contract with American coal companies in the Powder River Basin.

    Hypocrisy: how will exporting coal to China from the US and Australia instead of burning it in America reduce CO2 or global warming?


  2. January 17, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    Thanks for your comment, Michael.

    There are definitely some interesting possibilities if the nation decided to pursue domestic fuel resources at levels that could offset (or replace) foreign fuel sources – the root of your discussion on energy independence above. Natural gas is particularly interesting to me – it is cleaner than coal (in terms of emissions and waste-streams) and consumes less water when it is burned to generate electricity than coal does… and with shale gas, we have a LOT of it. Lot of possibilities.

    I don’t know if you saw, but I wrote a guest post for Scientific American with David Wogan last month on Waste-to-Energy (http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=waste-to-energy-a-mountain-of-trash-2010-12-16). I agree with you that it is a largely untapped resource that we could use in this country to offset some of our other fuel use (while helping the environment).

  3. October 12, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    Thanks for the good article, I was hunting for details such as this, going to check out the various other articles.

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