Omnibus Thwarts Obama on Overseas Coal-Plant Funding Limits

The smoke stacks at American Electric Power's (AEP) Mountaineer coal power plant in New Haven, West Virginia, October 30, 2009. In cooperation with AEP, the French company Alstom unveiled the world's largest carbon capture facility at a coal plant, so called 'clean coal,' which will store around 100,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide a year 2.1 kilometers (7,200 feet) underground. 
National Journal
Ben Geman
Jan. 13, 2014, 5:31 p.m.

The $1 tril­lion fed­er­al spend­ing bill that law­makers un­veiled Monday night would soften an Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion cli­mate-change policy that greatly re­stricts U.S. sup­port for coal-plant con­struc­tion in de­vel­op­ing na­tions.

The om­ni­bus ap­pro­pri­ations bill wa­ters down, dur­ing the rest of fisc­al 2014, an Ex­port-Im­port Bank policy that largely pre­vents sup­port for build­ing over­seas coal plants that don’t trap car­bon-di­ox­ide emis­sions.

The lan­guage, ac­cord­ing to House Ap­pro­pri­ations Com­mit­tee Re­pub­lic­ans, also re­stricts an Over­seas Private In­vest­ment Cor­por­a­tion policy that lim­its sup­port for coal-plant con­struc­tion.

The bill text says the cli­mate policies may not be en­forced dur­ing fisc­al 2014 if they pre­vent ac­cess to power in very poor na­tions or pre­vent in­creased ex­ports of U.S. goods and ser­vices.

The bill also tar­gets a policy to phase out in­ef­fi­cient light bulbs in the U.S. that was con­tained in a bi­par­tis­an 2007 en­ergy law but has since fallen out of fa­vor with con­ser­vat­ives.

But while the bill tech­nic­ally blocks En­ergy De­part­ment en­force­ment of the rules, man­u­fac­tur­ers have already been phas­ing out the in­ef­fi­cient in­can­des­cent bulbs.

A sum­mary of the massive spend­ing bill cir­cu­lated by House Ap­pro­pri­ations Com­mit­tee Demo­crats said Re­pub­lic­ans had sought to go much fur­ther in at­tack­ing en­vir­on­ment­al reg­u­la­tions.

Their sum­mary notes that the bill, which would fund the gov­ern­ment through Sept. 30, omits “egre­gious” GOP policy riders aimed at pre­vent­ing reg­u­la­tion of green­house gases from power plants and block­ing the ex­pan­sion of Clean Wa­ter Act pro­tec­tions.

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