It comes at an unsettled time politically in the conservative state following Sen. Byron Dorgan’s (D-N.D.) surprise announcement Tuesday that he will not seek reelection this year.
The nonpartisan Cook Political Report lists Pomeroy’s at-large House as likely to remain Democratic. But Dorgan’s retirement and the possibility that popular GOP Governor John Hoeven will run for Dorgan’s seat could boost Republican turnout in the midterm election.
Pomeroy’s brief legislation amends the air law to specifically exclude carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the definition of pollutant, which would prevent the agency from regulating heat-trapping emissions from cars, power plants and other sources.
It also includes a “sense of Congress” that comprehensive climate change regulations must only be enacted at the direction of Congress.
“Regulation of greenhouse gas emissions under the current provisions of the Clean Air Act is dangerous, irresponsible and just plain wrong. That is why I introduced the Save Our Energy Jobs Act which would stop the EPA from moving forward with its boneheaded proposal,” Pomeroy said in a press release to North Dakota media outlets Friday.
“I am not about to let some Washington bureaucrat, who does not know squat about North Dakota’s energy sector, dictate new public policy that will raise our electricity rates and put at risk the thousands of coal-related jobs in our state,” he added.
(In the version of the press release on Pomeroy’s House website, the word “boneheaded” has been cut from the quote above. So has the phrase “who does not know squat about North Dakota’s energy sector.”)
Pomeroy will begin seeking co-sponsors for the measure when the House returns next week, an aide said.
The Obama administration is seeking a comprehensive emissions law from Congress but warns that EPA will move ahead with regulations in the absence of a new statute.
The House approved a sweeping climate and energy bill in June, centered on an economy-wide “cap-and-trade” system to limit U.S. greenhouse gas output. Pomeroy was among the 44 House Democrats to vote against the bill.