WASHINGTON – Acting on a vow to fight the Obama administration on climate issues, Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, unveiled draft legislation Wednesday to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its power to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, is expected to announce similar draft legislation in the Senate.

The “discussion draft” by Upton says that nothing in the Clean Air Act “authorizes or requires any regulation . . . relating to . . . emission of a greenhouse gas due to concerns regarding possible climate change.”

Upton and Inhofe aim to prevent the Obama administration from using the Clean Air Act, enacted in 1970, as “a regulatory vehicle to impose a cap-and-trade energy tax,” a committee aide said.

The EPA issued a finding in late 2009 that said greenhouse gas emissions linked to global warming endanger the public’s health and welfare. In January, the agency told industrial facilities such as power plants, oil refineries and paper mills that require permits to emit sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide to also account for greenhouse gas emissions if they expand or add construction that significantly increases greenhouse gas pollution.

Republicans, many of whom doubt climate change science, say the regulations hurt the ability of American industry to compete against companies in countries with relaxed environmental standards.

The EPA has its foot “squarely on the neck of business,” Upton has said. Republicans say the Obama administration is trying to use tougher regulations on energy to overcome the president’s failure to pass climate change legislation.

Democrats such as Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon disagreed. “I am outraged that House Republicans are launching this attack on the most basic law that keeps our air safe to breathe,” Blumenauer said in a statement Wednesday.

“These efforts would halt EPA’s common-sense steps under the Clean Air Act to protect Americans from harmful air pollution that, until now, has not been subject to any pollution standards,” said Brendan Gilfillan, an agency spokesman.