Lieberman told reporters that he believes the prospect of EPA imposing a carbon cap could help mobilize 60 votes in support of climate legislation, since any regulation the agency issues would lack their bill's flexibility and generous incentives for different forms of energy production.It is unfortunate that the Obama Administration and Senate Democrats have to play such political games to pass climate legislation, but this is hardly the first time threats of regulation have been used to motivate political support for new legislation. Moreover, there is no question that EPA possesses authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act (although particular aspects of its proposed regulation are legally questionable and will certainly be subject to legal challenge).
"The gun being held up in the air by EPA is having an effect," he said. "That's a genuine worry, and that's different this year than we've had before, and that's what makes me feel we can get to sixty" votes.
A fact sheet on EPA's new rule is here. The full final rule is here.