New Battle in ‘War on Coal’ With Bill to Block Power-Plant Rules

WASHINGTON - FEBRUARY 9: Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) waits for a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Energy and Power Subcommittee on Capitol Hill February 9, 2011 in Washington, DC. The committee held the hearing to discuss The Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011 and its effect on the Clean Air Act's regulation of greenhouse gases.  
National Journal
Alex Brown and Clare Foran
Add to Briefcase
Alex Brown Clare Foran
Oct. 28, 2013, 5:44 p.m.

A bi­par­tis­an bill tak­ing aim at the center­piece of Pres­id­ent Obama’s agenda on cli­mate change prob­ably has little chance of be­com­ing law, but it gives the coal in­dustry and its sup­port­ers a new ral­ly­ing cry against im­pend­ing En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Agency reg­u­la­tions for power plants.

On Monday, House En­ergy and Power Sub­com­mit­tee Chair­man Ed Whit­field, R-Ky., and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., in­tro­duced a dis­cus­sion draft of le­gis­la­tion to sig­ni­fic­antly rein in EPA’s reg­u­lat­ory au­thor­ity over green­house gases in the elec­tri­city sec­tor.

The draft would block the agency’s pro­posed new source-per­form­ance stand­ards for fu­ture power plants, re­leased in Septem­ber. It calls on fu­ture EPA rule-mak­ing for new coal-fired power plants to man­date already ex­ist­ing, com­mer­cially proven tech­no­logy to lim­it green­house-gas emis­sions, and it would al­low Con­gress to de­term­ine when reg­u­la­tions on ex­ist­ing plants take ef­fect.

“We’re just us­ing a prac­tic­al, com­mon-sense ap­proach,” Whit­field said at a press brief­ing on the bill. “If an en­tity wants to [build a new coal-fired plant] and they can use the best avail­able tech­no­logy … then the EPA … should not be able to stop them from do­ing that.”

The re­lease of the dis­cus­sion draft comes ahead of a ma­jor push against the reg­u­la­tions on Tues­day, with a pro-coal rally set to take place on the West Lawn of the Cap­it­ol. The rally, or­gan­ized by Count on Coal, a grass­roots coal ad­vocacy cam­paign, is ex­pec­ted to draw between 3,500 to 4,000 par­ti­cipants, many of them miners and util­ity work­ers con­cerned about the EPA reg­u­la­tions.

“There’s a real hu­man im­pact here,” said Nancy Gravatt, a spokes­wo­man for the Na­tion­al Min­ing As­so­ci­ation. “There are a lot of people who are very con­cerned about how ex­treme these reg­u­la­tions are and want to make their voices heard.”

Coal-state law­makers from both parties are ex­pec­ted to at­tend, in­clud­ing Manchin and two fel­low West Vir­gini­ans — Demo­crat­ic Rep. Nick Ra­hall and Re­pub­lic­an Rep. Shel­ley Moore Capito — along with Sen­ate Minor­ity Lead­er Mitch Mc­Con­nell, R-Ky., and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.

“I would be hope­ful that [the ad­min­is­tra­tion] would listen and not just give us lip ser­vice,” Capito told Na­tion­al Journ­al Daily. “If all we’re do­ing is rais­ing the level of dis­cus­sion and shin­ing a light on it and hop­ing to change things that way, I’ll take what I can get. Be­cause I’m very frus­trated that it’s been a deaf ear up to this point.”

En­vir­on­ment­al­ists began at­tack­ing the Whit­field-Manchin draft as soon as it be­came pub­lic Monday. “This would hand­cuff the EPA, pre­vent­ing it from re­du­cing car­bon pol­lu­tion that puts our chil­dren’s health at risk,” said Dav­id Hawkins, dir­ect­or of cli­mate pro­grams at the Nat­ur­al Re­sources De­fense Coun­cil. “It’s the latest at­tempt by rad­ic­als in Con­gress to gut the Clean Air Act’s abil­ity to pro­tect fu­ture gen­er­a­tions from the dangers of cli­mate change.”

What We're Following See More »
CANNOT “IN GOOD CONSCIENCE” VOTE FOR BILL
McCain Won’t Support Graham-Cassidy Bill
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

In a statement Friday, Sen. John McCain wrote, "I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal. I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried. Nor could I support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will effect insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it. Without a full CBO score, which won't be available by the end of the month, we won't have reliable answers to any of those questions." His "no" vote makes it much less likely Republicans will repeal and replace Obamacare by Sept. 30.

Source:
NEW DIRECTIVES ISSUED
DeVos Officially Replaces Obama-era Sexual Assault Guidelines
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

As anticipated, the Department of Education today withdrew the controversial Obama-era "Dear Colleague" letter on campus sexual assault, replacing it with new interim guidance. Most notably, the new guidance permits colleges to use a “clear and convincing” standard of evidence, rather than the preponderance of evidence standard that the 2011 letter seemed to mandate. "The new guidance also states that colleges may facilitate informal resolutions, including mediation, if all parties agree to participate in that process."

Source:
EXPECTED TO TAKE EFFECT BY SUNDAY
Country-Specific Rules to Replace Travel Ban
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The Trump administration will unveil more tailored restrictions on travelers from certain countries as a replacement to the controversial travel ban, according to a senior administration official. The new restrictions will vary by country. They could include a ban on travel to the United States, or new restrictions on obtaining a visa for citizens of particular countries." They are expected to be unveiled by Sunday.

Source:
MORE TRANSPARENCY THAN FEC REQUIRES
Facebook Enhances Disclosure for Political Ads
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS

In a live-streamed address from Silicon Valley, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced a nine-point plan that the tech giant is rolling out over coming months to respond to "efforts by nation-states and private actors to use the social media platform to influence U.S. elections." Most importantly, the company will force all advertisers to disclose what ads they're running to all audiences. “When someone buys political ads on TV or other media, they’re required by law to disclose who paid for them,” Zuckerberg said. “But you still don’t know if you’re seeing the same messages as everyone else. So we’re going to bring Facebook to an even higher standard of transparency. Not only will you have to disclose which page paid for an ad, but we will also make it so you can visit an advertiser’s page and see the ads they’re currently running to any audience on Facebook.”

Source:
TRUMP ADMIN CRACKING DOWN ON LEAKS
Mandatory Training EPA Employees on Leaking
6 hours ago
THE DETAILS

As "part of a broader Trump administration order for anti-leaks training at all executive branch agencies," Environmental Protection Agency employees "are attending mandatory training sessions this week to reinforce their compliance with laws and rules against leaking classified or sensitive government information ... Relatively few EPA employees deal with classified files, but the new training also reinforces requirements to keep 'Controlled Unclassified Information' from unauthorized disclosure."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login