President Joe Biden doesn’t have the authority to declare a national emergency over climate change. That’s the opinion of U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and other Republican lawmakers who have reintroduced a bill that would prevent Biden from issuing such a declaration.
Capito, Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, announced Monday that she has reintroduced the Real Emergencies Act in the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate. A companion bill has been introduced in the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives by U.S. Rep. August Pfluger, R-Texas.
“The Biden administration has repeatedly governed by executive overreach when it comes to energy and environmental regulations, ignoring the law and doing so without congressional approval,” Capito said. “These regulations have made us less energy independent, led to higher prices for consumers, and created uncertainty for employers and workers across the country. The Real Emergencies Act would ensure the president cannot go further by declaring a national emergency, which would grant him more executive authority and grow the size of government all in the name of climate change.”
Some conservatives are worried that Biden will try to declare a climate change national emergency. They fear that such a declaration could lead to a repeat of a myriad of government-ordered mandates similar to those seen during the recent COVID-19 crisis, including lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, but this time on the basis of climate change.
Joining Capito in co-sponsoring the Real Emergencies Act were U.S. Senators John Barasso, R-Wyo., John Boozman, R-Ark., Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., John Hoeven, R- N.D., Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., Roger Marshall, R-Kan., Pete Ricketts, R-Neb., Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska and Roger Wicker, R- Miss.
The proposed legislation would prevent Biden from using three primary statutory authorities available (the National Emergencies Act, the Stafford Act, and section 319 of the Public Health Service Act) to declare a national emergency solely on the basis of climate change.
The bill would not prevent from Biden from acting on other national emergencies or major disasters, including hurricanes, flooding, etc., according to Capito’s office.
Capito originally introduced the measure in 2022, but it didn’t pass the Democrat-controlled Senate at the time.