Senate Dems to Obama: Reconsider coal rules

A group of seven Senate Democrats is pressuring President Obama to scale back the proposed carbon limits on new coal-fired power plants.

In a letter to Obama on Wednesday, the senators asserted that the technology the rule is based on is not commercially viable.

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"We are committed to improving air quality; however, the emissions standards in the proposed rule are not based on technology that has been adequately demonstrated on a commercial scale," the letter, spearheaded by Sen. Heidi HeitkampHeidi HeitkampReid: Judiciary a 'rubber stamp' for Trump-McConnell oil is changing the world and Washington GOP blocks Obama sanctions czar MORE (N.D.) and Joe DonnellyJoe DonnellyDemocrats block energy spending bill over Iran amendment GOP blocks Obama sanctions czar Indiana GOP divided over Senate primary MORE (Ind.) states.

Sens. Mary LandrieuMary Landrieu oil is changing the world and Washington Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Republican announces bid for Vitter’s seat MORE (La.), Mark Pryor (Ark.) and Mark WarnerMark WarnerTurf battle erupts over hot cyber issue Housing groups argue Freddie Mac's loss should spur finance reform Week ahead: Rival encryption efforts clash on Capitol Hill MORE (Va.), all vulnerable Democrats facing reelection in November, signed the letter.

"Understanding that affordable energy from coal will remain an important part of the world's economy, it is necessary for us to adopt the right policies and regulations that encourage long-term investment in further emissions reduction technologies and efficiencies," the letter adds.

Opponents of Obama's carbon emissions limits for new power plants have long argued that the carbon capture sequestration technology the Environmental Protection Agency proposes plants use is nowhere near ready.

Instead, such mandates would effectively shutter coal plants across the U.S., hurting the economy and energy jobs, pro-coal Democrats and Republicans claim.

The senators recommended that Obama evaluate "more appropriate ways to regulate emissions."

"We urge you to consider an approach that establishes a standard in the near-term that can be achieved by high efficiency coal-fired technologies operating without CCS and lower standards over the long-term as CCS becomes commercially available," the senators write.

Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.) also backed the letter, which comes as the administration is preparing to propose the second rule, which is a part of Obama's climate agenda for power plants and applies to existing coal facilities.