Obama Waves Veto Pen at House Bill to Kill EPA Climate Rule

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
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Ben Geman
March 4, 2014, 1:28 p.m.

The White House is threat­en­ing to veto le­gis­la­tion com­ing to the House floor this week that would block up­com­ing car­bon-emis­sions stand­ards for power plants.

The GOP-led bill, which the House is ex­pec­ted to pass, is highly un­likely to gain enough Sen­ate trac­tion to reach Pres­id­ent Obama’s desk any­way.

But the veto threat is­sued Tues­day is part of the mes­saging thrust-and-parry over the White House’s cli­mate-change plan and the En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Agency’s power-plant rules that are at its core.

The White House, in a state­ment Tues­day, said the bill would threaten “the health and safety of Amer­ic­ans.”

The meas­ure would “stifle pro­gress in re­du­cing car­bon pol­lu­tion by dis­cour­aging the ad­op­tion of cur­rently avail­able and ef­fect­ive tech­no­logy, and would lim­it fur­ther de­vel­op­ment of cut­ting-edge clean-en­ergy tech­no­lo­gies,” the White House said.

Rep. Ed Whit­field, the Ken­tucky Re­pub­lic­an who is a seni­or mem­ber of the House En­ergy and Com­merce Com­mit­tee, is lead spon­sor of the bill.

It would greatly soften planned emis­sions rules for fu­ture power plants that EPA is slated to fi­nal­ize this year. Re­pub­lic­ans and some con­ser­vat­ive Demo­crats say the rules are a de facto ban on con­struc­tion of new coal plants and call them part of a wider reg­u­lat­ory as­sault on the coal in­dustry.

The bill would also pre­vent sep­ar­ate planned emis­sions stand­ards for ex­ist­ing power plants from tak­ing ef­fect un­less Con­gress votes to set the ef­fect­ive date for the reg­u­la­tion, which the White House notes could delay those stand­ards in­def­in­itely. EPA in­tends to pro­pose those rules in draft form in June.

The House is likely to pass the bill Thursday. The meas­ure’s chief back­ers are Re­pub­lic­an, but its 94 co­spon­sors in­clude sev­en Demo­crats.

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