Environmental groups fight for EPA rules after climate bill meltdown in Senate

Environmental groups are plotting their political strategy for protecting EPA’s power to impose greenhouse gas curbs, a campaign that has become more urgent following the Senate’s abandonment of climate change legislation.

Their big fear: Senate action on Sen. Jay RockefellerJay RockefellerOvernight Tech: Trump nominates Dem to FCC | Facebook pulls suspected baseball gunman's pages | Uber board member resigns after sexist comment Trump nominates former FCC Dem for another term Obama to preserve torture report in presidential papers MORE’s (D-W.Va.) plan that would block EPA regulation of coal-fired power plants and other stationary industrial sources for two years. 

EPA plans to begin regulating heat-trapping emissions from large sources beginning in January and will slowly phase the requirements in from there.

The Center for Biological Diversity’s Bill Snape said green groups that locked horns over the shape of climate legislation — his group called the main Capitol Hill plans weak and stuffed with industry giveaways — are unified on protecting EPA rules.

“The entire [environmental] community, which has had its disagreements, would be entirely unified in beating the hell out of that,” said Snape, the group’s senior counsel, of Rockefeller’s plan. “There is definitely a flurry of activity.”

“We are all talking, we are all strategizing,” he said.

Rockefeller’s plans for pushing his bill — which is co-sponsored by six centrist Democrats — remain unclear. 

Democratic leaders offered a vote this year on his plan when they were fighting off Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSenate bill would cut EPA funding by 0M GOP senator: ObamaCare fix could be in funding bill Collins: Pass bipartisan ObamaCare bills before mandate repeal MORE’s (R-Alaska) more sweeping measure to kill all EPA climate regulation. Her proposal failed in June.

But it’s not clear where Rockefeller’s plan stands now that Democratic leaders have dropped climate legislation for the summer and likely for the year.

Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidVirginia was a wave election, but without real change, the tide will turn again Top Lobbyists 2017: Grass roots Boehner confronted Reid after criticism from Senate floor MORE (D-Nev.) said Thursday he was unsure whether there would be a vote on Rockefeller’s measure.