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By ERIKA BOLSTAD
WASHINGTON — Sen. Lisa Murkowski took her battle with the Environmental Protection Agency to the floor of the Senate today, saying she was left with no choice but to fight a federal agency she believes is “contemplating regulations that will destroy jobs while millions of Americans are doing everything they can just to find one.”
The Alaska Republican announced she would seek to keep the EPA from drawing up rules on greenhouse gas emissions from large emitters, such as power plants, refineries and manufacturers. Murkowski did it by filing a “disapproval resolution,” a rarely used procedural move that prohibits rules written by executive branch agencies from taking effect.
“If Congress allows this to happen there will be severe consequences to our economy,” Murkowski said. “Businesses will be forced to cut jobs, if not move outside our borders or close their doors for good perhaps. Domestic energy production will be severely restricted, increasing our dependence on foreign suppliers and threatening our national security. Housing will become less affordable.”
She was immediately countered by Sen. Barbara Boxer, chairwoman of the committee that has done the most work on climate-change legislation: the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Murkowski’s disapproval resolution would essentially throw out the process by which the EPA found that greenhouse gases endanger public health, Boxer said.
She called Murkowski’s resolution an “unprecedented move to overturn a health finding by health experts and scientific experts in order to stand with the special interests.”
Murkowski has as co-sponsors 38 fellow senators, including three Democrats: Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska.
Her move has prompted an aggressive response by environmentalists, who launched a radio and television advertising campaign in Anchorage and Washington, D.C., that focused on the role two industry lobbyists had in writing Murkowski’s original proposal last fall.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also criticized Murkowski’s effort, saying recently during an event in New York sponsored by the Geothermal Energy Association that Murkowski’s proposal was “misguided.”