Lingle, others urge EPA restraint on emission rules
Advertiser Staff and News Services
Gov. Linda Lingle is among a group of mostly Republican U.S. governors urging federal lawmakers to stop the Obama administration from regulating greenhouse gases under an existing law.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency "is not equipped to consider the very real potential for economic harm when regulating emissions," the 20 governors, including Republican Haley Barbour of Mississippi and Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia, said in a letter to House and Senate leaders.
"Without that consideration, regulation will place heavy administrative burdens on state environmental quality agencies, will be costly to consumers and could be devastating to the economy and jobs."
Instead of EPA regulations, Congress should "pass comprehensive legislation that balances the role of conservation and climate security with the production of abundant and affordable American energy," the governors said in the letter.
Lingle spokesman Russell Pang said the governor signed the letter for reasons it stated, along with worries about how the rules would affect shipping costs.
"A concern for Hawai'i is the impact that blanket EPA rules would have on marine fuels, which would have an adverse effect on shipping goods into Hawai'i," Pang said.
In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA has the authority to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that scientists have linked to climate change. Legislation that would replace direct EPA regulation with a cap-and-trade system allowing companies to buy and sell the right to pollute is stalled in Congress.
Greenhouse gases are a "real and growing threat to the American people" and the EPA is proposing "common-sense measures," Brendan Gilfillan, a spokesman for EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, said in an e-mail. "EPA rejects the premise that addressing greenhouse gases threatens the economy," Gilfillan said.
The group of governors include Puerto Rico's Luis Fortuno and Guam's Felix Camacho. Gov. Steve Beshear of Kentucky is the second Democrat who signed the letter.
While the Obama administration supports the cap-and-trade legislation, it plans to regulate cars, trucks, power plants, oil refineries and other industrial sources of pollution under the existing Clean Air Act if the carbon trading bill doesn't pass Congress this year.
Republicans and some Democrats in Congress are trying to delay the EPA's proposed carbon regulations or strip the agency of its authority over greenhouse gases.
EPA regulation "will be costly to consumers and could be devastating to the economy and jobs," the governors said in the letter, which doesn't endorse the cap-and-trade legislation.
Other governors signing the letter included those from Alaska, Nebraska, Georgia, Rhode Island and Nevada.
Also signing were those from North Dakota, South Dakota, South Carolina, Minnesota, Utah, Louisiana, Alabama, Virginia and Arizona.Bloomberg News Service contributed to this report.