Updated at 10:55 p.m. on December 28.
Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich. is ready for battle.
The incoming Energy and Commerce chairman, who has accused the Environmental Protection Agency of impeding economic recovery with its new climate-change rules, aims to block the agency’s planned regulations, or at least delay them in Congress next year.
“The best solution is for Congress to overturn the EPA's proposed greenhouse gas regulations outright,” Upton argued in a Wall Street Journal op-ed (subscriber) that appeared today, written with Tim Phillips of the conservative group Americans for Prosperity.
“If Democrats refuse to join Republicans in doing so, then they should at least join a sensible bipartisan compromise to mandate that the EPA delay its regulations until the courts complete their examination of the agency's endangerment finding and proposed rules," the op-ed said.
Senate Commerce Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W. Va., had proposed an amendment to stall the rules for two years, but his proposal never made it to the Senate floor. Nevertheless, Rockefeller promised to continue pushing for the delay in the next Congress, where it stands a better chance in a new Senate with a larger Republican contingent.
Even a two-year delay might not be enough, according to Upton. “There is no way to know whether two years will be sufficient time for the courts to complete their work,” the op-ed said. The least they can do in order to “reduce the potential for confusion” is to delay the regulations until the courts have had time to rule, Upton and Phillips wrote. Earlier this month, a federal appeals court denied a motion to stay the implementation of the rules, which are set to roll out on January 2.
Upton and Phillips argued that the controversial EPA rules are “an unconstitutional power grab.” The agency, they said, is in a hurry to move forward with the rules before any definitive court rulings, and hasn’t completed an analysis of how the rules will affect jobs. Furthermore, Upton and Phillips said they are "not convinced" that carbon even needs regulating, whether it's Congress or the EPA that does it.
The administration's announcement on Thursday set a timetable in which the EPA will propose standards for coal- and oil-fired power plants by July 2011 and for oil refineries by December 2011. The agency will then issue final standards for each in May and November 2012, respectively.