Senate Dems applaud Obama’s fight against carbon pollution

Sens. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseOvernight Energy: SEC begins probing Exxon Senate Dems unveil new public option push for ObamaCare Emails: Powell talked Clinton health concerns with Dem mega-donor MORE (D-R.I.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) cheered President Obama’s announcement to increase fuel efficiency standards for trucks.

On Tuesday, Obama announced that he is directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) to develop and issue the next phase of medium- and heavy-duty vehicle fuel efficiency standards by March 2016.

“These standards will be a win-win for the American people,” Whitehouse said. “They will reduce carbon pollution that drives climate change and reduce our consumption of costly fossil fuels. With Congress locked behind a barricade of special interests, the president’s Climate Action Plan will ensure we continue to make progress on climate change.”

Obama said another main goal was to reduce U.S. dependency on foreign oil — something Markey echoed.

“When it comes to the twin generational challenges of climate change and foreign oil dependence, our nation must be in it for the long haul, and these standards make that kind of commitment,” Markey said. “When combined with our new standards for the cars and trucks we all drive, these standards create a one-two punch against Middle East oil dependence and global climate change.”

Earlier in his administration, Obama also required cars to achieve a mileage rate of nearly 55 miles per gallon by 2025.

Republicans have argued that the United States could also reduce dependency on foreign oil if Obama approved the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.