A law pushed by Republicans to strip authority from the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases linked to climate chance has failed in the U.S. Senate.
The law would have repealed a 2009 finding by federal scientists that greenhouse gas-induced climate change poses significant threats to public health.
Democrats focused arguments on what they said was an unprecedented reversal by Congress of a scientific finding.
“The fact is, why should we play doctor? I’m too humble to repeal science,’’ said Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, taking the position of many Democrats against the McConnell amendment’s overturning of a finding by the EPA that greenhouse gases endanger human health and welfare. EPA scientists had made the same conclusion under President George W. Bush, but the White House never acted on the recommendation.
A Supreme Court ruling in 2007 said the EPA could regulate greenhouse gas emissions as part of the Clean Air Act. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts brought the case against the EPA on behalf of other states and environmental groups.
Republicans, in hours of debate, painted EPA’s regulations as an overreach of government that will harm the economy and lead to job losses and must be stopped. They stressed that their efforts to hamstring the agency in the case of global warming would not affect other parts of the Clean Air Act that protect people from toxic and lung-damaging pollutants.
In Iowa, climate change has had far-reaching impacts, according to the state’s Climate Change Impacts Committee.