Senate Republicans offer sweeping plan to block climate rules

“Washington agencies are now trying a backdoor approach to regulate our climate by abusing existing laws. Congress must step in and stand up for the American people. My bill will shrink Washington’s job crushing agenda and grow America’s economy,” Barrasso said.

The bill is broadly written in an effort to not only block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from directly regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, but also to prevent federal agencies from considering climate change when implementing statutes such as the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

The bill, however, would not upend existing joint standards for vehicle fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions that the EPA and the Transportation Department jointly administer. But those rules would only be managed by the Transportation Department, according to Barrasso’s office.

The bill is highly unlikely to pass, but several lawmakers — notably Sen. John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) — are seeking traction for a less-aggressive measure that would delay EPA regulations for sources like power plants and refineries for two years.

Barrasso’s plan drew quick criticism from environmentalists.

“With the introduction of his legislation today, Sen. Barrasso has now become the lead voice in the Senate for the nation’s biggest polluters, who continue to try to get out of cleaning up their health-threatening air pollution. This piece of legislation is proof of where Sen. Barrasso stands: On the side of polluters who threaten our health, instead of the side of the American public, whose health he should be protecting,” the group Earthjustice said in a statement.

This post was updated on Feb. 1 at 8:05 p.m.