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Global warming: Congress set to decide if EPA can regulate greenhouse gases

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The EPA, through its "tailoring rule," has exempted from forthcoming rules smaller sources of greenhouse-gas emissions, focusing instead on large emitters. Under current agency plans, the greenhouse-gas reporting requirement applies to about 10,000 facilities responsible for an estimated 85 to 90 percent of total US emissions. Most small businesses fall below the 25,000-metric-ton annual threshold and will not be required to report such emissions.

Senators on Wednesday will vote on four measures – one Republican-sponsored and three sponsored by Democrats – that differ from one another in how much EPA regulatory authority each would remove. The order of the votes is important, because it could determine – some say weaken – support for each bill.

Republicans and some Democrats, especially from coal-producing states, don't much like the forthcoming EPA emissions restrictions and have called the measures job killers that are bad for the economy.

• The first amendment up for a vote, by Sen. Max Baucus (D) of Montana, would make permanent an EPA exemption for greenhouse-gas emissions from agricultural sources. [Editor's note: The original version of this paragraph incorrectly included limits on EPA action.]

• The second vote, on an amendment from Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) of Michigan, would include Senator Baucus's agricultural exemptions, a tax credit for renewable energy manufacturers, and a two-year delay on implementing EPA greenhouse-gas regulations.

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