Debunking the Smear Campaign against the Murkowski Resolution

In recent weeks I have penned four columns debunking the smear campaign against Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution of disapproval to stop EPA from dealing itself into a position to make climate and energy policy for the nation — a power Congress never delegated to EPA when it enacted the Clean Air Act.

Climate Politics: When Will the Sanctimony End? (MasterResource.Org, Mar. 2) debunks the calumny that the Murkowski resolution is “polluter-crafted,” and shows that this pejorative accurately applies to the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill — legislation that many Murkowski detractors such as Climate Progress and enthusiastically support.

MoveOn’s Triple Whopper (Pajamas Media, Feb. 10) shows that’s TV ad campaign against the Murkowski resolution piles falsehood on top of falsehood on top of falsehood. MoveOn claims the Murkowski resolution would “roll back” the Clean Air Act (it wouldn’t), making it harder for EPA to clean the air (it wouldn’t). We should all be in a panic , MoveOn suggests, because “many Americans smoke the equivalent of a pack a day just from breathing the air.” An outrageous falsehood. According to peer-reviewed scientific research, smoking just one cigarette a day delivers anywhere from 12 to 27 times the daily dose of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) that non-smokers inhale in cities with the highest PM2.5 levels.

The aforementioned piece and two others — Resolution Would Protect the Economy (National Journal, Jan. 27) and Move Afoot in the Senate to Can EPA CO2 Regs (Pajamas Media, Jan. 23) — clarify what the Murkowski resolution is and isn’t.

Contrary to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and other critics, the resolution is not a referendum on EPA’s science. Rather, it is a referendum on the constitutional propriety of unelected bureaucrats, courts, and eco-litigation groups setting climate and energy policy for the nation. The resolution is not an attempt to veto the scientific content of EPA’s endangerment finding. Rather, it would veto the finding’s legal force and effect.

Thus, there is no valid analogy, as Sen. Boxer claims, between the Murkowski resolution and Congress vetoing the Surgeon General’s finding that cigaratte smoking causes cancer. The Surgeon General’s finding was simply that — an assessment of the scientific literature. It did not even presume to offer policy recommendations, much less trigger a host of new regulations Congress never approved, as EPA’s endangerment finding will do if allowed to stand.

The Obama Administration warns that the Murkowski resolution would thrust the distressed U.S. auto industry into regulatory limbo, because the endangerment finding is the trigger for the combined greenhouse gas/fuel economy standards rulemaking scheduled to go into effect later this month or early April.

The National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) respectfully disagrees. In this letter, released today, NADA argues the Murkowski resolution would benefit the auto industry because there would be one less redundant yet potentially conflicting standard (EPA’s) regulating fuel economy and GHG emissions from new motor vehicles.

I’ll have more to say about NADA’s analysis in a later post.