By Kyle Pray
Four amendments introduced to limit the EPAʼs ability to protect the Clean Air Act failed to pass in the Senate. Senator Stabenow, who voted in favor of her own amendment, did not receive support from fellow Michigan Congress member, Senator Levin. Levin did, however, vote in favor of the Baucus amendment, which would have protected “smaller”emitters from EPA regulation. Many other Michigan environmental groups including Anne Woiwode and our friends at the Sierra Club Chapter are requesting explanations from Sen Stabenow and Sen Levin regarding their “polluter” support.
In the House the news was less optimistic. The Upton bill, which was defeated in the Senate under the McConnell amendment, passed in the House.
This week the EPA is under attack as four measures that would restrict the agencyʼs authority prepare to be voted on in the House and Senate. Most notably is H.R. 910 –Energy Tax Prevention which seeks to ignore scientific ﬁndings and prevent the EPA from upholding the Clean Air Act (CAA). The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the CAA grants the EPA the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
Two of Michiganʼs very own, U.S. Rep Fred Upton and U.S. Sen Debbie Stabenow are among those submitting EPA related measures. Uptonʼs H.R. 910, the major bill in question, will likely pass with support from Republicans as well as Democrats from oil and coal producing states.
However, Stabenowʼs amendment calling for a two year suspension of EPA greenhouse gas regulations was not addressed by the president. Rather the bill, Senate Bill 493, seeks to reauthorize the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs of the Small Business Administration. The amendment allows for coal power plants and oil reﬁneries a two year exemption from reporting on emissions.
Senator Stabenow issued a statement on the amendment:
“My amendment is a common-sense approach that allows protections from carbon pollution, determined by scientists and public health experts, to continue being developed while providing businesses the support and incentives they need as they reduce pollution, generate new clean energytechnologies and create jobs.”
After repeated attempts, Stabenow was unavailable for direct comment on the amendment.
This comes after the EPA and Justice Department ﬁlled suit against DTE Energy. Currently in court, the case regards Michiganʼs largest coal power plant located in Monroe. Last year, the site received $65 million in renovations and upgrades, however, the overhaul neglected to address a key issue — the plants pollution problems.
Also of note are speculative plans to build and expand coal power plants in Holland and Rogers City – now green-lit by the Snyder administration following local rulings.