Murkowski’s ‘resolution of disapproval’

MURKOWSKI’S ‘RESOLUTION OF DISAPPROVAL’…. While the Senate ponders how (and whether) to proceed with a climate/energy bill, there’s still another avenue for policymakers hoping to combat global warming.

Though it’s not ideal, the Environmental Protection Agency can use the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon emissions, and as of last week, the EPA presented its latest blueprint to curb greenhouse gases from the largest sources, including power plants and oil refineries. It wouldn’t affect all emisions, but it would cover several hundred major polluters.

As far as the White House is concerned, the EPA avenue can be effective leverage with Congress: pass the Kerry/Lieberman American Power Act or we’ll have no choice but to let the EPA use its regulatory authority. It’s the administration giving lawmakers a choice: either you act or we will.

But Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who’s already proven herself as a puppet for wealthy energy corporations, has an idea for a third option. Kate Sheppard had this report earlier today:

Murkowski’s office released a statement Friday afternoon reminding reporters that the Alaska Republican still has a resolution of disapproval in reserve. Murkowski is seeking to use the disapproval resolution, a rarely-used procedural maneuver that enables Congress to overturn regulations set by the executive branch, to block the EPA from regulating carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act. She can attempt to pass the resolution anytime between now and June 7. […]

Murkowski’s office says she has not yet decided on a date to call up her resolution of disapproval, but that she “will seek that vote by the June 7 deadline.” So far, her measure has the support of 35 Republicans and four Democrats.

Rumor has it that Murkowski may bring up her measure as early as this week, and it cannot be filibustered — if it gets 51 votes, it passes. The Alaskan senator would effectively need all of the Senate Republicans — which may itself be tricky, since Snowe, Collins, and Brown are hesitant — and 10 Senate Democrats. That may sound like too high a threshold, but Murkowski already has four Dems, and the senators from West Virginia and Virginia have not yet weighed in.

Stay tuned.