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Bond, environmental groups tangle over EPA and its powers

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 8, 2010 - U.S. Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo., is among the Senate Republicans expecting to fight it out this week with environmentalists over a GOP proposal to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing rules dealing with climate change or global warming.

Local opponents plan a news conference Wednesday to call for Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., to side with the EPA.

Bond is among the supporters of an amendment by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, that would mandate that only Congress can act on carbon emissions. A vote is expected on Thursday.

"Members have a stark choice: side with allowing EPA bureaucrats to impose big-government, job-killing, energy price-raising regulations, or side with protecting our struggling families and workers," said Bond in a statement today. "I choose our families and workers and urge my colleagues to do the same."

The Senate has yet to act on cap-and-trade legislation, aimed at curbing such emissions, that narrowly passed the House last summer. As Bond and his allies see it, "EPA bureaucrats have announced plans to circumvent Congress and misuse the Clean Air Act to impose costly carbon regulations on American families and workers."

Bond -- and McCaskill -- have raised questions about the cap-and-trade legislation because of the heavy penalties it would impose on states like Missouri that rely on coal for energy production.

Said Bond: "In fact, allowing these EPA regulations to go forward would send good-paying manufacturing jobs to China, where expensive mandates would not be imposed on energy-intensive jobs."

Environmental groups see the issue differently. They say Murkowski's measure "would actually give a handout to oil companies and other dirty energy producers and allow them to operate with fewer restrictions than they have now."

"Murkowski’s Big Oil Bailout will have devastating consequences on Missouri’s efforts to reduce dependence on oil and put millions of dollars in Big Oil’s coffers at the expense of Missouri consumers," said a statement from Environment America, a group with the coalition Clean Energy Works that is planning to hold a news conference Wednesday outside a BP gas station in the city of St. Louis.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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