The U.S. Senate killed an effort to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.
The Senate on Thursday voted 53-47 to block Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska, “resolution of disapproval” to overturn to EPA’s plan to limit carbon dioxide emissions from industry and vehicles.
“We managed to avoid taking a big step backwards, and now it’s time to come together and focus on creating clean energy jobs and moving into an energy independent future,” said EPA spokeswoman Adora Andy.
Murkowski, together with Republicans and six Democrats, argued that the EPA was overextending its reach in regulating emissions, a move the lawmakers claimed would hurt the economy.
Supporters of action on climate change welcomed the vote.
“The failure of the Murkowski Amendment to pass in the Senate today makes clear that efforts to delay Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation of green house gasses (GHG) under the Clean Air Act, through similar legislation or lawsuits are not likely to succeed,” said Jon Scholl, President of American Farmland Trust, in a statement.
“This vote shows the political tide is turning against Big Oil. Americans understand now more than ever the price we pay when we allow polluters to have their own way, and the wave of outrage has finally reached Congress,” Joseph Mendelson, director of global warming policy at the National Wildlife Federation, said in a statement.
“Now it’s time for the Senate to take the fight to Big Oil and pass comprehensive energy reform that holds corporations fully accountable for the pollution they dump into our water and the pollution they pump into our air.”
The EPA is expected to release its economic analysis of the Kerry-Lieberman climate bill, legislation that is moving through Senate. The bill, which requires 60 votes to pass, faces strong opposition from energy interests, especially in the coal and oil sectors.