On July 22, 2010,  a House Appropriations subcommittee, on a vote of 7-7, rejected a proposal to impose a two-year delay on the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) regulation of greenhouse gases (“GHG”) from stationary sources.  The proposal, introduced as an amendment to the Interior and Environment fiscal-year 2011 spending bill, would have imposed a two-year moratorium on the EPA’s ability to regulate GHGs from power plants and other stationary emitters.

After EPA’s issuance of its Endangerment Finding (see Dec. 11, 2009 edition of the WER), EPA in April issued motor vehicle GHG regulations that made GHGs “subject to regulation” under the Clean Air Act.  This “Automobile Rule” triggered air permitting requirements for “major” stationary sources of GHG emissions under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (“PSD”) program, forcing EPA to issue its “Tailoring Rule” to avoid requiring millions of small emitters of GHGs to obtain PSD permits (see May 14, 2010 edition of the WER).  The first phase of applying PSD to GHG sources is scheduled to begin January 2, 2011, a date that would be significantly delayed with the imposition of a two-year moratorium on EPA regulation of GHGs.

On March 4, 2010, Sen. John D. Rockefeller (D-WV) introduced legislation to impose a similar two-year moratorium on the EPA’s ability to regulate GHG emissions from stationary sources.  According to press reports, when the Senate voted against adopting Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s resolution to overturn EPA’s Endangerment Finding (see June 11, 2010 edition of the WER), Majority Leader Reid promised a vote on Sen. Rockefeller’s bill this year.

 All five panel Republicans, along with two panel Democrats, Reps. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) and Ben Chandler (D-KY) voted against the measure, creating a 7-7 deadlock and preventing the measure’s passage.