“We will just keep going right at it,” he said.
Ascendant House Republicans are also vowing to block EPA climate rules and other pollution regulations they call “job-killing.”
Rockefeller, however, said he’s concerned about overreach, noting he supports emissions standards for vehicles.
“The thing I have to look at is to make sure that it doesn’t go too far,” he said. “I don’t think you get rid of EPA. I just don’t know what the Tea Party-types are going to do, but I know they are going to try and abolish a lot of agencies.”
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is also mulling new efforts to block EPA rules next year.
“I do think we will have an opportunity in the brand-new Congress. I know that there are an awful lot of folks on the House side that are looking at this. They don’t want the EPA moving either. So I think we are going to have some neighbors over on the other side working with us to advance something,” she told The Hill in the Capitol on Saturday.
Murkowski tried a different tactic than Rockefeller — and a more aggressive one — to block EPA climate rules earlier this year.
She sponsored a “resolution of disapproval” that would have nullified EPA’s “endangerment finding” that greenhouse gases threaten humans, which is the legal underpinning for all EPA climate rules.
The use of the Congressional Review Act — which provides Congress an avenue to block final agency rules — ensured her a floor vote in June, but she fell short in a 47-53 vote when 51 backers were needed.
The Congressional Review Act has been used successfully just once since it was enacted in the mid-1990s, but House Republicans might launch new efforts under the statute and could also seek to block EPA with riders on spending bills.
Resolutions under the act face an easier pathway to the Senate floor than other bills and can’t be filibustered.
Murkowski said she is evaluating her options.
“Whether or not we use that tool again or go different direction is uncertain at this point,” she said.