Congressional Democrats have inserted a “dangerous” rider into an appropriations bill that would allow the Department of Interior to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., according to a release from Republicans on the House Committee on Natural Resources.
The rider to the Fiscal Year 2009 Omnibus Appropriations bill, Section 429, enables the Interior Department to withdraw two Endangered Species Act rules within 60 days of enactment.
“This would allow the Obama Administration to change rules without any public notice or public comment period, and threatens efforts to create new jobs in an already strapped economy,” the release states.
One rule exempts thousands of federal activities, including those that generate greenhouse gases, from review under the Endangered Species Act by allowing federal agencies to determine themselves whether their actions are likely to adversely affect endangered species, and whether they need scientific review, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.
The second rule exempts greenhouse gas emissions and oil development, the two leading threats to polar bears, from regulation under the Act.
“If the rules are withdrawn, then any project that increases carbon dioxide or any greenhouse gas emissions could have to consult with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on mitigation against the potential impacts on global warming and harming of the polar bear, or else face potential lawsuits,” the committee’s statement asserts.
“The threat posed to job creation and our economy would not only impact energy production, but agricultural practices, increases in livestock numbers, construction of buildings such as schools or hospitals, and any other activity that emits greenhouse gas.”
Doc Hastings, the Ranking Member of the Committee, said: “This is a backdoor maneuver to create vast new climate change powers without any public comment or involvement by the American people.
“Reaching far beyond the Arctic home of polar bears, this action would put economic activity across the entire United States at risk. If a school needs to be built in Florida, do they really need to seek permission from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to ensure that construction won’t harm polar bears in Alaska?
“No one argues with the need to assure the conservation of the polar bear, but this rider isn’t about protecting the polar bear. It’s about trying to exploit the listing of the polar bear as a ‘threatened’ species to regulate activities around the U.S. that emit CO2 and other greenhouse gases.
“This creates a great legal uncertainty that threatens our entire economy.”
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