U.S. House Votes to Amend Clean Air Act, Gut EPA Greenhouse Gas Regulation

Led by Representative Fred Upton (R-Michigan), the U.S House of Representatives voted Thursday to amend the Clean Air Act to ban the regulation of greenhouse gases in order to address climate change. Gases to be unregulated include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons.

Despite its passing, the bill (H.R. 910) dubbed “The Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011” is seen largely as symbolic. The Senate is unlikely to pass the bill and President Obama has promised to veto it should it reach his desk.

The bill remains significant, however, as it is a large political accomplishment for Representative Upton, recently appointed as Chairman to the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. Politico.com identified Upton as “at the center of GOP efforts to stop the Obama administration’s energy, technology and health care agenda,” and the bill’s passage demonstrates his growing political influence in congress.

Upton said placing limits on carbon dioxide emissions would be “all economic pain and no environmental gain,” resulting in higher prices for electricity and gasoline. “Left unchecked, EPA’s actions would have a devastating impact on jobs, U.S. competitiveness, and domestic energy prices,” Upton said.

But Henry Waxman (D-California), regarded as one of the most influential Democrats in congress, declared the bill “anti-science, anti-environment and anti-health.” “The EPA made a scientific determination that carbon pollution endangers our health and environment  … Yet this legislation repeals that scientific finding. That’s something no congress has ever done,” he said.

The bill passed on a 255-172 margin, falling along party lines with 19 Democrats voting for it. Michigan’s representatives in Congress voted strictly according to party, with Republicans voting for the bill and its restrictions on the EPA with Democrats voting against. Find a breakdown of the vote below:

Yea         MI-1      Benishek, Dan [R]
Yea         MI-2      Huizenga, Bill [R]
Yea         MI-3      Amash, Justin [R]
Yea         MI-4      Camp, David [R]
Nay        MI-5      Kildee, Dale [D]
Yea         MI-6      Upton, Frederick [R]
Yea         MI-7      Walberg, Timothy [R]
Yea         MI-8      Rogers, Michael [R]
Nay        MI-9      Peters, Gary [D]
Yea         MI-10    Miller, Candice [R]
Yea         MI-11    McCotter, Thaddeus [R]
Nay        MI-12    Levin, Sander [D]
Nay        MI-13    Clarke, Hansen [D]
Nay        MI-14    Conyers, John [D]
Nay        MI-15    Dingell, John [D]

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