Making rules

Monday, February 15, 2010

Federal cap-and-trade legislation is stalled. The House has passed a bill that would allow companies to trade credits for the emission of greenhouse gases. But the Senate is more reluctant to pass the bill. So the Environmental Protection Agency has decided to impose its own rules. Two U.S. representatives from large rural districts in Missouri, Jo Ann Emerson from Cape Girardeau and Ike Skelton from Lexington, say the EPA's move is unfair to the affected businesses, including the nation's largest power plants, and usurps the decision-making authority of elected members of Congress.

The proposed EPA rules are being pushed by the Obama administration. President Obama has said Congress is dragging its feet and the EPA should go ahead with "commonsense" rules instead of waiting for legislative action.

With all due deference to division of powers, as the president is prone to say, imposing greenhouse gas standards is something for members of Congress -- elected by and answerable to their constituents -- to decide, not appointed EPA bureaucrats.

The fact that Emerson, a Republican, and Skelton, a Democrat, have joined forces to oppose these rules speaks volumes about the deep-seated feelings of the legislative branch and its lawmaking obligation.

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