Groups heated over climate move

Joe Mendelson, director of global warming policy at the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), said the environmental community was “universally opposed” to an expected push by Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiOvernight Energy: Spending bill targets Pruitt | Ryan not paying 'close attention' to Pruitt controversies | Yellowstone park chief learned of dismissal through press release Senate committee targets Pruitt scandals in spending bill GOP chairman seeks ‘sufficient’ funding for EPA watchdog office MORE (R-Alaska) to block the Environmental Protection Agency from using any money to regulate carbon dioxide emissions through the Clean Air Act in an upcoming vote on the Interior spending bill.

Beyond tying EPA’s hands to lower pollution, the amendment is just bad timing, given the climate talks at the United Nations this week, according to a letter NWF and a passel of other environmental groups sent to Capitol Hill. “The Murkowski amendment sends a loud signal around the world that the United States is not serious about curbing its global warming pollution,” the letter states.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the act gives the EPA the authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. But it’s a touchy subject even with Democrats on Capitol Hill, who fear federal regulators won’t be sensitive to the concerns of their constituents.

Robert Dillon, the Republican spokesman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said Murkowski is worried EPA’s regulation would have a severe economic impact on many manufacturers and other businesses, and that it would capture small businesses that may not have the wherewithal to handle the extra costs of curbing emissions.

The amendment would block EPA for a year from moving forward on regulating greenhouse gas emissions. Dillon said Murkowski was looking to win bipartisan support for her amendment. But while she plans to file it for debate, she has not decided whether she will push for a floor vote.