February 1, 2011

Senators Hopes To Stop Regulation Of Greenhouse Gas

Conservative senators vowed Monday to strip President Barack Obama of his power to regulate greenhouse gases, in an attempt that would cripple U.S. efforts on climate change if everything goes as planned.

Eleven Republican senators introduced a bill that would stop the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gases, which scientists blame for global warming.

The federal agency has steadily increased standards on gas emissions.  The Republicans accused Obama of circumventing Congress, where a so-called "cap-and-trade" bill to mandate emission curbs died last year.

"My bill will shrink Washington's job-crushing agenda and grow America's economy," Senator John Barrasso, a Republican from Wyoming and skeptic of climate change who is leading the effort, told AFP.

"I will do whatever it takes to ensure that Washington doesn't impose cap-and-trade policies in any form."

The Obama administration says that a shift to green energy would help the planet and the economy by creating new jobs.

However, Senator John Kerry, a Democrat from Massachusetts who led last year's climate bill, said that Barrasso's proposal "puts the public health at risk and encourages the outsourcing of American jobs."

Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey accused the Republicans of doing the bidding of industrial emitters, saying "The health of our children must come before the interests of polluters."

The Republicans rocked the Democratic Party during the November elections, but Democrats still control the Senate and White House, which allows Obama to still veto any effort to roll back powers on emissions.

However, the proposal is another sign that it will be virtually impossible for the Democrats to pass legislation on climate change, which failed to pass even when the party controlled the House of Representatives and held a wider majority in the Senate.

The battle in Congress leaves the White House with a delicate task as it tries to persuade China and other growing polluters to agree to a global plan on greenhouse gases.

Obama pledged that the U.S. will take action alongside other nations to fight climate change.


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