U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson has joined two congressional members from Missouri to file legislation blocking the Environmental Protection Agency from developing its own greenhouse gas rules.

“I have no confidence that the EPA can regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act without doing serious damage to our economy,” Peterson said. “The Clean Air Act was not meant for this. It was meant to clean up the air, to get lead out of the air. It was not meant to fight global warming.”

U.S. Reps. Ike Skelton, a Democrat, and Jo Ann Emerson, a Republican, sharply criticized federal environmental regulators and warned that because EPA officials are not elected, the agency is not accountable to the farmers, business owners and other Missouri residents who could be hurt.

The EPA had concluded in December that that emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases represent a danger to public health, which allows it to consider rules limiting them. That decision stems from a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that found greenhouse gases are air pollutants under federal clean-air laws.

But the Missouri lawmakers say Congress did not intend to give the EPA the authority to regulate greenhouse gases through the Clean Air Act.

"The EPA is controlled by bureaucrats who are not elected and are responsible only to the head of the EPA who is from New Jersey," said Skelton, who represents central and western Missouri. "And I doubt that they understand mid-America, the Midwest, agriculture and what our farmers need to continue to do a good job for our country."

The effort to limit EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gasses is the latest of several similar legislative attempts. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is planning to seek a vote next month on a disapproval resolution that would nullify EPA's ruling that greenhouse gases threaten human health and welfare.

In the House, Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) has introduced a separate bill to strip EPA of its authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions unless authorized by Congress.

Source: New York Times; Associated Press contributed to this report