This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) that would have permitted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to continue to regulate greenhouse gas emissions if the EPA administrator determined that such regulation could reduce the demand for oil. This amendment was offered to legislation prohibiting the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.
Markey urged support for his amendment: “My amendment is quite simple. It just says that nothing, nothing that the Republicans are proposing today should put a limitation on the ability of the EPA to reduce the demand for importing oil … which should be the number one objective in our country. You know, we only have 2 percent of the world's oil reserves, and we consume 25 percent on a daily basis….So the only way in which we can solve the problem is if we reduce consumption by increasing the efficiency of the vehicles which we drive, of the boats which we use, of the planes that we ride in, of the other sources that consume the oil that we use in our country…. this amendment goes right to the heart of the national security of our country, right to the heart of our economic independence, as well as reducing greenhouse gases. The national security of our country is at stake in this amendment.”
Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) opposed the amendment: “If we allow EPA to regulate greenhouse gases, we're going to skyrocket the cost of electricity which is going to make us less competitive in the global marketplace; we're going to lose more jobs to China and more jobs to India because those two countries are burning more coal because coal produces the lowest-cost electricity. And that's why we are opposed to this amendment…” Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) argued: “I rise in opposition to my good friend, Mr. Markey's, amendment. He must think EPA stands for `Energy Punishment Agency' as opposed to `Environmental Protection Agency.' EPA's role is not to regulate the oil and gas industry. It's not to set an oil import fee. It's not to set quotas. It's to protect the environment.”
The House rejected this amendment by a vote of 156-266. Voting “yea” were 156 Democrats, including a majority of progressives. All 238 Republicans present and 28 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have permitted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to continue to regulate greenhouse gas emissions if the EPA administrator determined that such regulation could reduce the demand for oil.