Five members of Florida’s congressional delegation are among the 113 cosponsors of the “Free Industry Act,” a bill by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., that would strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions:

  • Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Seminole
  • Rep. Connie Mack, R-Cape Coral
  • Rep. Bill Posey, R-Melbourne
  • Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Pensacola
  • Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland

A battle over the EPA’s authority has been brewing since Republicans took control of the House, where three other measures intended to limit or delay the EPA’s air pollution regulations have been introduced.

The National Resources Defense Council drew attention to the issue last week, releasing a fact sheet (.pdf) noting the prevalence of athsma in the districts of the representatives opposing the regulations (part of a new tack among environmentalists, focusing on the public health consequences of pollution), as well as the campaign contributions they’ve received from fossil fuel-dependent industries, such as oil and mining companies and utilities:

“Our elected representatives should hold big polluters accountable, not help them block the strong safeguards that would protect our health and quality of life,” said Dan Lashof, an environmental scientist and Director of NRDC’s Climate Center. “Unfortunately, these bad air boosters– who collectively have taken over $27 million in campaign contributions from big polluters during their careers – are choosing to stand up for the polluters instead of public health.

Florida’s Jeff Miller, for one, has argued that regulating greenhouse gases should be left up to Congress:

“EPA has gotten so much power over the years; really, it’s scary,” Miller said. “The problem that I have is that things that can’t be passed legislatively, they’re bypassing the legislative arm and doing it administratively through the EPA.”

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