Senator Jim Webb today voted for Senator Jay Rockefeller's (D-WV) amendment to suspend the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) regulation of greenhouse gases from stationary sources for a period of two years. Senator Webb, a co-sponsor of the amendment and a similar bill, said the delay would give Congress time to address "legitimate concerns over the broad use of executive powers in the absence of clear Congressional intent" without disrupting decisions already reached on motor vehicle fuel and emission standards. The amendment, however, failed to win passage.
"I have long expressed deep reservations about the consequences of unilateral regulation of greenhouse gases by the EPA," said Senator Webb. "This sweeping authority at the hands of the EPA could endanger thousands of jobs in our fragile economy. Senator Rockefeller's amendment, which I cosponsored, would give Congress time to address legitimate concerns with climate change and to enact responsible energy legislation.
"In contrast, Senator McConnell's amendment would jeopardize significant progress already made on motor vehicle fuel economy and emissions standards, which could save as much as 1.8 billion barrels of oil and millions of dollars for consumers."
Senator Rockefeller's amendment to S. 493, the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs Reauthorization Act of 2011, called for a two-year moratorium on EPA regulatory action under the Clean Air Act with respect to carbon dioxide or methane, except for the widely-supported motor vehicle emission standards.
Senator Webb has consistently called for a comprehensive approach to addressing our nation's energy needs. In 2009, he introduced the bipartisan "Clean Energy Act" with Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) to promote further investment and development of the nation's clean energy technologies. Earlier this week, Senator Webb again urged the Obama Administration to keep Virginia's Lease Sale 220 on schedule to allow for exploration of much of Virginia's offshore resources.