Courtesy of The Sunday Gazette Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Environmental Protection Agency is intent on shoehorning vast, costly global warming regulations into the 1970 Clean Air Act.

Congress has been content to look the other way and allow it to happen, but on June 10 every senator will be on the record. That's when the Senate will vote on a resolution (SJ Res. 26) introduced by Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski that would overturn the EPA's global warming regulations. It's privileged and not subject to filibuster. There is no place for weak-kneed senators to hide. In just two weeks we'll know where every member of the Senate stands, including Sens. Robert C. Byrd and Jay Rockefeller.

The EPA is out to regulate cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, planes, trains, ships, boats, tractors, mining equipment, RVs, lawn mowers, fork lifts and just about everything else that has a motor in it. And because there is no control technology for greenhouse gases, the EPA would require complete redesigns and operational changes. They would also regulate stationary sources, including commercial kitchens that use natural gas as a cooking fuel and, eventually, even large single-family homes.

The Democrats have a huge majority in the Senate, but many Democrats will not walk the party line on this one. To start, three Democrats are co-sponsors of Murkowski's resolution: Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.

And at least one more key Democrat, West Virginia's own Jay Rockefeller, has also expressed his concerns about what the EPA is doing. He said: "We cannot wait any longer to send the message that relying on EPA is the wrong way to go. The fate of our entire economy, our manufacturing industries and our workers should not be in the hands of EPA."

The WV Metro Valley Patriots Tea Party group gathered in front of Rockefeller's Charleston office on May 25 to urge Sen. Rockefeller to support Murkowski's resolution. Tea Party groups around the state are paying close attention to the upcoming vote on June 10 and will hold their elected representatives accountable.

The stakes here in West Virginia are huge and West Virginia officials are adamant the regulations are unworkable. Gov. Joe Manchin is "concerned the rule will cause serious economic, legal and administrative harm to the state of West Virginia." Manchin insists "the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions is a matter that should be left to Congress, and EPA would be wise to seek congressional action instead of attempting to regulate."

John Benedict, director of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, said "EPA has embarked on an unprecedented, and risky, attempt to regulate greenhouse gases under the federal Clean Air Act." He fears "the agency appears to be committed to going forward with GHG regulation no matter how severe the consequences and without full regard for the adverse effects."

Benedict identified that "manufacturing sectors will be among those hardest hit. And fuel suppliers, especially coal and petroleum will suffer as well. EPA estimates over 13,000 facilities will be affected."

We know the vote is on June 10. It will be a clean, up-or-down vote on the Senate floor -- a yes to stop the EPA power grab, or a no to look the other way and let it happen.

Regardless of the outcome, we'll learn where Sens. Byrd and Rockefeller stand. Will they vote to say a rogue agency can short-circuit the legitimate legislative process, disregard public opinion, and impose its own constraints on the West Virginia economy? Or will they take responsibility as the legitimately elected legislative branch of government and rein in the EPA by voting yes on SJ Res. 26? We'll find out June 10.

Kerpen is vice president for policy at Americans for Prosperity ( in Arlington, Va., and Holstein is a member of the West Virginia Metro Valley Patriots Tea Party