House Fires Shot at Obama Climate Rules

Defying a veto threat, Republicans push through bill to limit EPA regulation of power plants.

NEW EAGLE, PA - SEPTEMBER 24: A plume of exhaust extends from the Mitchell Power Station, a coal-fired power plant located 20 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, on September 24, 2013 in New Eagle, Pennsylvania. The plant, owned by FirstEnergy, will be one of two plants in the region to be shut down, affecting 380 employees. The Evironmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Obama administration have been taking major steps to get coal-fired power plants into compliance with clean air regulations. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
National Journal
Mike Magner
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Mike Magner
March 6, 2014, 10:10 a.m.

Ten Demo­crats joined 219 Re­pub­lic­ans to help the House pass le­gis­la­tion Thursday that would lim­it Pres­id­ent Obama’s ef­forts to reg­u­late green­house-gas emis­sions from power plants.

Only three Re­pub­lic­ans — Reps. Chris Gib­son of New York, Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler of Wash­ing­ton, and Frank Lo­Bi­ondo of New Jer­sey — voted against the bill that was ap­proved on a tally of 229-183.

The meas­ure has little chance of get­ting through the Demo­crat­ic-con­trolled Sen­ate, and even if it did the White House is­sued a veto threat against the bill earli­er this week.

The chief Re­pub­lic­an spon­sor of the bill, Rep. Ed Whit­field of Ken­tucky, said the bill would pre­vent the En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Agency from is­su­ing lim­its on power-plant emis­sions that ad­versely af­fected the eco­nomy. “Far from bar­ring EPA from con­trolling green­house-gas emis­sions, by in­sist­ing on stand­ards based on proven tech­no­lo­gies our ap­proach will ac­tu­ally work,” Whit­field said in a joint state­ment with the Demo­crat­ic spon­sor of a sim­il­ar bill in the Sen­ate, Joe Manchin of West Vir­gin­ia.

The bill would pre­vent EPA from is­su­ing emis­sion lim­its for fu­ture power plants un­less it could show the stand­ard had been met for a full year at six dif­fer­ent plants us­ing ex­ist­ing tech­no­logy. It also would block new reg­u­la­tions set to be is­sued this year for ex­ist­ing power plants un­til Con­gress voted to set the ef­fect­ive date.

“If this bill were to be­come law, it would ser­i­ously cripple the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s on­go­ing drive to curb dan­ger­ous car­bon pol­lu­tion, which is harm­ing our air, our lands, and our wa­ters, and push us ever faster on a path to un­man­age­able cli­mate dis­rup­tion,” said Dan Lashof, pro­gram dir­ect­or of the Cli­mate and Clean Air Pro­gram at the Nat­ur­al Re­sources De­fense Coun­cil.

Demo­crats who voted for the bill were Reps. John Bar­row and San­ford Bish­op, both of Geor­gia; Jim Costa of Cali­for­nia; Henry Cuel­lar of Texas; Bill En­yart of Illinois; Jim Math­eson of Utah; Mike McIntyre of North Car­o­lina; Col­lin Peterson of Min­nesota; Nick Ra­hall of West Vir­gin­ia; and Terri Sewell of Alabama.

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