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Skelton says he wants a responsible approach to energy legislation
Skelton says he wants a responsible approach to energy legislation

Congressman Ike Skelton
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 7, 2010) — Last week, I introduced H.R. 4572, a bipartisan bill that would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the authority of the Clean Air Act. I submitted this legislation to the U.S. House of Representatives because, simply put, we cannot tolerate turning over the regulation of something as important as the American energy system to unelected bureaucrats.

In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Massachusetts v. EPA that the EPA had authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Since that time, EPA has been putting in place a framework to do just that.

I, like many residents of the Fourth Congressional District, do not agree with the Supreme Court. Congress never explicitly granted EPA the authority to regulate greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, under the Clean Air Act. Instead, that law was meant to eliminate lead in the air and to reduce smog.

Urgent Congressional action is needed to assert leadership and make clear that EPA does not have authority to regulate these sorts of gases. That is why I, along with Congressman Collin C. Peterson, the Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, and Republican Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson, a fellow Missourian, have submitted H.R. 4572 to the House of Representatives for consideration. If Congress does not act, unelected bureaucrats may soon be setting policies harmful to rural Americans.

This legislation sends a clear message that many of us in Congress are just plain concerned about what EPA is trying to do under the authority of the Clean Air Act and are ready to do something about it. And, agricultural and utility groups from the Fourth District, such as the Missouri Rural Electric Cooperatives, the Missouri Municipal Utilities, the Missouri Corn Growers, and the Missouri Soybean Association, agree.

I am very hopeful that H.R. 4572 will become law or will be included in any sort of responsible energy bill drafted this year. In my view, enacting common sense, bipartisan energy legislation, like the bill I have introduced, will help build consensus among the American people and Congress on energy and environmental reforms and allow for the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over time.

Congressman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) serves as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Congressman Skelton’s website is at www.house.gov/skelton.

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