Gardner lauds latest bid to rein in EPA, takes heat from CD4 conservation groups

U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner.

In his weekly newsletter Sunday, Republican Rep. Cory Gardner of Colorado’s 4th Congressional District lauded last week’s passage by the GOP-controlled House of the Energy Tax Prevention Act (H.R. 910) aimed at preventing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. The Democrat-controlled Senate promptly rejected the move.

In his one-minute speech on the House floor, Gardner called the EPA the “Everyone Pays A Lot” administration, referring to cost increases he claims would have resulted from the passage last year of a climate change bill that cleared the House but died in the Senate.

EPA officials late last year set a timeline for establishing new clean air standards for new and refurbished power plants by July, with final rules in May of 2012. New standards for new oil refineries are expected by December, with the final rules by November of 2012. New standards for existing power plants and refineries are also in the works.

The U.S. Supreme Court in 2007 found that greenhouse gases are air pollutants covered by the Clean Air Act and the EPA in 2009 issued two findings citing the public health and welfare risks of greenhouse gases, but Republican House members – including Colorado’s four GOP lawmakers – continue to maintain that pending EPA regulations represent a backdoor attempt to implement last year’s failed climate change, or cap and trade, legislation.

“Much like last year’s failed cap and trade bill would have done, EPA regulations are driving up the cost of energy and forcing American jobs overseas,” Gardner writes in his weekly newsletter. “The Energy Tax Prevention Act, H.R. 910, was passed by the House [last] week and will protect American jobs and keep energy prices from rising even higher.

“To be clear, my colleagues and I care deeply about the quality of our air and water. But the EPA is attempting to regulate greenhouse gasses with no consideration for the economic consequences. Now is not the time to impose new costs on American businesses trying to create jobs.”

In his floor speech in support of H.R. 910, Gardner cited statistics in opposition to last year’s climate bill, not the EPA regulations, which have not yet been drafted. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., follows Gardner and quickly points out the inconsistency. The video clip of Gardner’s speech on his Facebook page cuts off before Waxman weighs in.

The anti-Gardner blog includes Waxman’s statement: “Mr. Chairman, that information is incorrect, I would like to see a letter that pertains to this EPA action. I think it might have been a letter related to a different piece of legislation.”

Gardner has been accused of being out of touch with his constituents in CD4, many of whom favor EPA regulation to maintain clean and air and water standards in Colorado.

“Rep. Gardner’s attempt to gut protections for clean air and clean water was economically, environmentally and morally wrong,” said Gary Wockner of Fort Collins-based Clean Water Action. “We support the EPA’s work to keep our air and water clean.”