Feinstein: Interior spending bill off calendar over EPA climate rules

She said there “are a lot of reasons” why it has been shelved for the moment, including an expected vote on a Republican amendment that would not allow EPA to spend funds next year on regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and other large industrial emitters. Those EPA regulations are set to begin in January.

“I think it’s very squirrelly, and that’s all I’m going to say,” she said when asked whether there was real concern that the amendment pushing off EPA climate controls would pass.

Environmental groups asked the Appropriations Committee — which was initially scheduled to take up the Interior and EPA spending bill at a markup Thursday — to delay that debate over concern the amendment would pass.

There are a handful of Democrats on the panel who have supported past efforts to delay or completely trump EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.

Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has promised Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) that a vote would take place, during a post-election lame-duck session, on his plan to delay EPA climate regulations for two years to give Congress more time to address it legislatively.

“And that’s where I think it should take place, and not on an appropriations bill,” Feinstein said.

Feinstein also said staff were still reviewing a $100 million Interior Department budget amendment the Obama administration sent Congress late Monday, which affects the reorganization of the department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement and would require offsets.