The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) regulation of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which officially began Sunday, represents an "unconstitutional power grab that will kill millions of jobs -- unless Congress steps in," said Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), the incoming chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee.

In April 2007 the Supreme Court "instructed the agency to determine whether greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide pose (or potentially pose) a danger to human health and safety under the Clean Air Act. In December 2009 the agency determined they were a danger [see Daily GPI, Dec. 8, 2009] -- and gave itself the green light to issue rules cutting CO2 emissions on a wide range of enterprises from coal plants to paper mills to foundries," Upton and Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, wrote in an article in The Wall Street Journal last week. "In response, states including Texas and Virginia, as well as dozens of companies and business associations, are challenging the EPA's endangerment finding and proposed rules in court."

Challengers also include the state of Alabama, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Petroleum Institute, the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association, the National Association of Home Builders and the Western States Petroleum Association (see Daily GPI, Feb. 18, 2010).

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is currently considering a partial stay of the EPA's rules and is expected to begin issuing decisions sometime in 2012, according to Upton and Phillips.

Upton told Fox News Sunday that Republicans plan to dust off a seldom-used statute -- the Congressional Review Act -- to overturn EPA regulation of GHG emissions. The act allows Congress to kill federal rules but it has been used successfully only once, The Hill reported. An attempt to kill EPA rules with it sputtered in the Senate in 2010, it noted.

"The EPA, of course, is in a hurry to move ahead. It wants to begin regulating the largest emitters first. But it has the authority under its endangerment finding to regulate emissions by hospitals, small businesses, schools, churches and perhaps even single-family homes. As companies wait for definitive court rulings, the country could face a de facto construction moratorium on industrial facilities that could provide badly needed jobs," Upton and Phillips wrote.

"The best solution is for Congress to overturn the EPA's proposed greenhouse gas regulations outright," they said. If Democrats refuse to do so, they should "at least join a sensible bipartisan compromise to mandate that the EPA delay its regulations until the courts complete their examination of the agency's endangerment finding and proposed rules," they said.

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