Murkowski offers EPA resolution, spars with Boxer

Murkowski said EPA should not be crafting emissions rules during the economic downturn and high unemployment.

She predicted that EPA’s plan to ensure that emissions rules only cover large emitters would be blocked in court, creating a job-killing nightmare scenario in which regulations cover businesses of all shapes and sizes.

“Why would EPA want to pursue these regulations right now, when we should be focused on getting our economy back on track?,” said Murkowski, who is the top Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Boxer, however, called Murkowski’s approach “radical.”

Murkowski’s resolution would block future climate rules by overturning EPA’s recent “endangerment finding” that greenhouse gases pose a threat to human health and welfare. The finding does not limit industrial emissions but rather is a legal precursor to future rules.

Boxer said Congress should not be in the business of reversing scientific and health findings by federal agencies, likening EPA’s conclusion to past findings on the dangers of lead, tobacco and other hazards.

“We should not be repealing a finding that clearly states that our families’ health would suffer if we don’t get this carbon out of the air,” Boxer said, later adding that senators should not try and play the role of doctors and scientists.