House Dem crafting compromise bill to delay EPA climate rules

The legislation to permanently block the agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions – authored by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) – is likely to pass the House, but faces an uphill battle in the Senate.

Green, who is hoping he can find compromise on his bill, said the Upton-Inhofe legislation has little chance of getting signed into law. “I don’t see how it passes the United States Senate, much less gets past a presidential veto,” he said

A moderate Democrat from Texas oil and gas country, Green stressed Wednesday that he will not support the Upton bill, even though three other House Democrats have signed on as co-sponsors of the package.

He said he was approached in January by Upton and former House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton (R-Texas) to support a permanent delay, but declined.

“I want our country to address carbon, but I want to do it in a way where we can actually deal with it instead of making it a political issue,” he said.

A House Energy subcommittee will vote on the legislation Thursday.

Green said his legislation would delay climate rules “for a number of years,” though he has not yet determined the exact length of the freeze. The delay will likely be longer than two years, the amount of time legislation offered by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) would delay the regulations.

While Green was a co-sponsor of legislation in the House to delay EPA climate rules by two years, he now believes two years isn’t enough time, noting that it will take EPA won’t finish a study authorized by Congress in 2009 on a natural gas drilling process called “fracking” until 2012.

The bill to delay EPA climate rules would instruct the agency and the Energy Department to conduct a study on carbon capture and sequestration technology, thought to be the key to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and refineries.

“We’ve got some concepts and ideas,” Green said. “We’re working on them, but we haven’t put them in the drafting form.

Green hopes to find support among other oil- and coal-state Democrats on the committee. He specifically named Reps. Charlie Gonzalez (D-Texas), Mike Ross (D-Ark.) and Jim Matheson (D-Utah).