Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), one of the Senate’s key opponents to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) drive to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the Clean Air Act (CAA), has called on agency Administrator Lisa Jackson to provide more details on how its program would work.

In Jackson’s recent letter to Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV) and seven other coal state Democrats, she said that “fewer than 400” stationary source emitters would face regulation under CAA for their GHG emissions in the first half of 2011. Following that time line, Murkowski Friday raised several questions in a letter to Jackson asking:

In the letter that followed a hearing by the Senate Interior, Environment and Related Agencies last week, Murkowski also pressed Jackson to designate the “economic and employment impacts” of agency regulation of GHG emissions under the CAA.

She further said the Obama administration appeared confused about its strategy to reduce GHG emissions. “It appears the administration is trying to have it both ways. On one hand, the [fiscal year 2011] budget request assumes that a cap-and-trade bill will pass [Congress], and on the other hand, it seeks tens of millions of dollars to impose climate regulations without any input from Congress,” Murkowski said.

“I remain hopeful that the administration will become more specific about the energy and environment policies it supports, and work with all members of Congress to pass a balanced bill. It is clear that the threat of EPA climate regulations has not and will not coerce legislative action on climate change. Whatever bill may pass, it should advance because it is a good idea and not because it is merely less problematic than the alternative.”

In January Murkowski introduced a disapproval resolution that, if ratified by both houses, could negate EPA regulation of GHG emissions from stationary sources (see Daily GPI, Jan. 22). She is expected to bring up the disapproval resolution, which has 41 sponsors, for a vote on the Senate floor by the middle of the month, said spokesman Robert Dillon. The resolution would only require 51 votes to pass the Senate, but getting it through the House will be more challenging. A similar disapproval resolution to negate the endangerment finding was recently introduced in the House (see Daily GPI, March 1).

Opposition to EPA regulation of GHG emissions is increasingly becoming a bipartisan issue. Rockefeller last Thursday sponsored legislation to suspend potential EPA regulation of GHG emissions from stationary sources, such as coal-fired power plants, for two years to give Congress time to work on climate change legislation. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV) and others introduced a companion bill in the House.

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