Upton won't rule out debt ceiling as vehicle to thwart climate rules

Upton’s bill to scuttle EPA’s power to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions passed the House in April with 19 Democrats joining Republicans.

The same measure failed last month in the Senate when raised as an amendment to small-business legislation.

But Upton noted that 64 senators voted last month for at least one of several amendments aimed at blocking, limiting or delaying EPA’s rules in some fashion.

None of them passed the Senate, but opponents of EPA rules called the cumulative Senate votes a signal that there’s support on both sides of the aisle for limiting regulations.

Upton cited that support when asked about whether he’d like to see EPA provisions on the debt limit bill.

“I think there is good ground to show bipartisan support for reining in EPA. We are not done with the issue yet, and it is still early in the legislative year,” Upton told reporters after his remarks.

“We are going to look at all our options. I don’t know whether that [the debt bill] is one of them or not,” he said.

Upton also used the event to tout a bipartisan bill sponsored by Reps. John Sullivan (R-Okla.) and Jim Matheson (D-Utah) that would require an interagency panel to review the cumulative effects of various EPA rules on the economic competitiveness, employment and energy prices.

“We are expecting to move that legislation in the coming weeks,” Upton said.

Upton also said the committee will move legislation — which is the subject of a panel hearing Friday — that would address delays in air permitting for proposals in drill in Arctic waters off Alaska’s coast.

Shell Oil has been spent billions of dollars on leases and other costs but has been unable to start drilling, and the inability to obtain EPA permits it began seeking five years ago is a part of the reason.

“We are intending to really try and help them bring that to fruition,” Upton said during his wide-ranging remarks on energy security.