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 HeitkampOvernight Regulation: Senators call for 'cost-effective' regs | FCC chief unveils plans to roll back net neutrality Senators push 'cost-effective' reg reform Battle begins over Wall Street rules MORE (N.D.) and Joe DonnellyJoe DonnellyWhat prospective college students need to know before they go — or owe Battle begins over Wall Street rules GOP rep to potential Senate rival: Don't run MORE (Ind.) states.

Sens. Mary LandrieuMary LandrieuMedicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 Five unanswered questions after Trump's upset victory Pavlich: O’Keefe a true journalist MORE (La.), Mark Pryor (Ark.) and Mark WarnerMark WarnerOvernight Cybersecurity: DNC hackers also targeted French presidential candidate | Ex-acting AG Yates to testify at Senate Russia hearing Schumer: Senate Russia probe moving too slowly Senate Intel Dem has ‘serious concerns’ on Russia probe 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.