Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) today commended Senator Scott Brown for supporting an amendment that would have left the development of national greenhouse gas regulations in the hands of Congress.
Senators defeated by a tie 50 to 50 vote a measure that would have prevented the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from bypassing Congress and regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.
Senate Republicans pushed the EPA regulatory prohibition after the failure of the last Congress to pass “cap and trade” raised fears that the Obama administration would pursue the same goal administratively, without Congress.
AIM supports a national approach to greenhouse gas regulation, but the association remains concerned about the aggressive encroachment of non-elected regulators upon policy issues that should be debated in Congress. Agencies such as the National Labor Relations Board and the United States Department of Labor, for example, have fundamentally restructured the regulatory playing field on rules governing union elections, independent contractors and other important issues.
“Massachusetts employers appreciate Senator Brown’s position that decisions on broad policy issues such as greenhouse gas regulation belong with elected representatives. Allowing regulatory agencies to make those decisions deprives voters of the ability to comment, participate and ultimately render judgment at election time,” said Robert Rio, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs at AIM.
National greenhouse gas regulations will have a limited effect on Massachusetts since the commonwealth already regulates emissions under the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008. The law imposes onerous Massachusetts-only standards to reach the goal of reducing greenhouse gasses 20 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050 over 1990 levels.
The House of Representatives passed a spending bill in February that would prohibit the EPA from regulating carbon dioxide emissions.