Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the incoming chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, recently indicated that he will be a visible and powerful opponent of the EPA's delayed plan to begin regulating carbon emissions.
In a Tuesday op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Upton calls the postponed measure "an unconstitutional power grab that will kill millions of jobs - unless Congress steps in."
Though this rhetoric is perhaps standard fare for conservatives willing to rail against environmental conservation in the name of unrestricted trade and production, Upton was once hoped by some to be the silver lining on a set of GOP committee chair appointments seemingly loaded with headstrong conservative idealists.
In fact, his supposedly moderate view on environmental issues was one of his biggest obstacles in becoming chairman of the House energy committee. Competing against conservative counterparts in Reps. Joe Barton (Texas) and John Shimkus (Ill.) Barton was forced to atone for prior comments supporting eco-friendly light bulbs and expressing concern over climate change.
Upton is now continuing his rightward positioning against energy and environmental conservation as well as the EPA by promising to stall the emissions regulations until the U.S. Court of Appeals rules on a partial stay of the agency's rules, a conclusion that could take years.
"The best solution is for Congress to overturn the EPA's proposed greenhouse gas regulations outright," Upton writes, alongside global warming denier Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity. If that fails, however, Upton appears prepared to halt the EPA's regulatory process with a deluge of legal challenges.
"This presumes that carbon is a problem in need of regulation. We are not convinced.... Cuts in carbon emissions would mean significantly higher electricity prices," Upton argues of the EPA's plan. "We think the American consumer would prefer not to be skinned by Obama's EPA."