U.S. Senate Rejects Measure Overturning EPA’s Endangerment Finding

The U.S. Senate yesterday voted (53-47) against a resolution that would have essentially stripped the EPA of its authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act (CAA). Last year, the EPA issued two findings (known as “endangerment” and “contribution” findings), which triggered the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the CAA. Under those two findings, the EPA determined that greenhouse gases endanger the public health and welfare, and that emissions from motor vehicles contribute to concentrations of key greenhouse gases.

Senator Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska) resolution would have reversed the endangerment and contribution findings, and thus removed the EPA’s authority to issue regulations limiting greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources.

All 41 Republicans and six Democrats voted for the measure. While the vote was a victory for the Obama Administration, the larger question remains whether there is enough support to pass comprehensive climate change legislation this summer before the November elections.