Upton, Inhofe release bill to block EPA climate authority

Rep. Ed WhitfieldWayne (Ed) Edward WhitfieldWhy Republicans took aim at an ethics watchdog What Azerbaijan wants from Israel? Overnight Energy: Green group sues Exxon over climate science MORE (R-Ky.), who chairs the House Energy panel's energy subcommittee, will hold a hearing on the draft Feb. 9. Whitfield is a co-author of the draft.

The bills come as the Obama administration has suggested it will veto any bill that limits EPA’s climate authority.

“What has been stated from the White House is that the president’s advisers would advise him to veto any legislation that passed that would take away the EPA’s greenhouse gas authority,” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said Wednesday. “Nothing has changed.”

Top House Democrats launched a preemptive strike Wednesday night against the draft. Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyDemocrats protest Trump's immigration policy from Senate floor Dems press EPA nominees on ethics, climate Lawmakers prep for coming wave of self-driving cars MORE (D-Mass.), ranking members of the Energy and Commerce Committee and Natural Resources Committee, respectively, released an early version of the discussion draft a short time before the actual draft was released. The early version of the draft is dated Feb. 1.

Waxman, in a statement, said, “The Republicans have a lot of power, but they can’t amend the laws of nature. Gutting the Clean Air Act is only going to make our problems worse.  This proposal threatens public health and energy security, and it undermines our economic recovery by creating regulatory uncertainty.”

The draft also got the attention of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) office, which criticized the proposal Wednesday, citing a new poll commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council that says 77 percent of Americans think “Congress (should) let the EPA do its job.”

This story was updated at 7:14 p.m.