Enviros plot next steps in fight over EPA climate rules

Karpinski, speaking to reporters on a conference call Thursday, did not give further details on the advertisements, noting they are still being developed.

It's the latest attempt by environmental groups to hit lawmakers in their home states for supporting efforts to limit EPA's authority. The American Lung Association, for example, criticized House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) in his home district last month with four billboards opposing the lawmaker's bill to block EPA climate rules.

All of the amendments to block or limit EPA’s climate authority failed last week, but they each received some support from Democrats. Fifty senators voted in favor of an amendment offered by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to permanently prevent the EPA from regulating greenhouse-gas emissions, including four Democrats.

The McConnell amendment is based on legislation introduced in the Senate by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and approved by the House last week. The bill faces major hurdles in the Senate.

The environmental officials on the call stressed Thursday that all four amendments, though they target EPA climate rules to varying degrees, are “unacceptable.”

“We oppose all of those amendments, and they are all unacceptable,” Karpinski said.

The officials warned of future attempts by Republicans to attach provisions that would block EPA climate regulations to must-pass legislation like the fiscal year 2012 budget and a bill to raise the debt ceiling.

“We stand at the ready to continue to defeat any attacks on our health, attacks on clean air,” Environment America Executive Director Margie Alt said.

“They’re not going away and we’re not going away,” Karpinski added. “The polluters and their allies in Congress are going to continue to do everything they can to protect their profits at the expense of public health.”

The officials also praised Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-Nev.) and President Obama for ensuring that EPA-related policy riders were not included in a final spending agreement to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year.

“We are relieved that the EPA is protected,” she said.

But Alt raised concerns about a series of other provisions in the agreement that would block key administration polices like the Interior Department’s “wild lands” policy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s climate service.

“There is plenty in the continuing resolution that we’re not too hot on,” she said.

“Having policy measures attached to this is wrong,” Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen said. “It’s surprising that they were included and they shouldn’t have been.”