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GOP Seeks to Block GHG Regulation Funding

House Republicans on Friday continued an assault on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), introducing spending legislation that would prohibit the agency from regulating carbon dioxide emissions.

The continuing resolution (CR) would also cut funding for energy and climate research, ClimateWire reports for the New York Times.

The CR would fund government operations through September 30. It seeks to slash $100 billion from the fiscal 2011 budget that President Obama proposed last year.

The latest revisions to the CR have vastly increased proposed spending cuts from the $32 billion originally proposed by House appropriations committee chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky, pictured).

As submitted, the CR would cut the EPA’s budget by 29 percent compared to fiscal 2010 levels, from $10.3 billion to $7.3 billion. It would block funds for EPA regulations of greenhouse gases from stationary sources, for the rest of the fiscal year.

In recent weeks, senators of both parties have proposed bills that would prevent the federal government from regulating greenhouse gases (GHGs).

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) introduced a bill that would stop the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) directly regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, as the EPA is now attempting to do. The EPA has ordered states to begin issuing GHG permits to big emitters such as oil refineries, coal-burning power plants, cement factories and glass makers.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) introduced a less aggressive bill that would delay EPA regulation of industrial carbon dioxide emissions by two years.

EPA administrator Lisa Jackson last week defended the agency’s greenhouse gas regulations before House Republicans.

The CR would cut the EPA’s Energy Star program by $10.5 million, taking it to about $43 million. The Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy program would be cut by $900 million from $2.3 billion.

The bill would also cut funding for the position of White House climate and energy adviser, which is being left vacant by the departure of Carol Browner.

The chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee on interior and the environment,. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), said the prohibition on EPA greenhouse gas rules would give Congress “time to craft thoughtful, effective legislation to clarify EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act and provide certainty for job creators.”

But Senate appropriations committee chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) said.”The priorities identified in this proposal for some of the largest cuts — environmental protection, healthcare, energy, science and law enforcement — are essential to the current and future well-being of our economy and communities across the country.”

The bill proposes cuts to a number of international programs to prevent climate change and deal with its effects, including the elimination of $575 million for World Bank projects to help developing nations.

Elliott Diringer, vice president for international strategies at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, said the funding cuts “could seriously undermine our position in the negotiations” leading to a new global climate treaty.

Obama has said he will veto any bills that attempt to remove the EPA’s greenhouse gas powers.

The current budget resolution is due to expire on March 4, adding pressure for the House and Senate to agree on a new spending package.

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