GOP blasts power plant carbon rule

Republicans wasted no time in slamming the Obama administration’s proposal to limit carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, saying the rule will cost billions of dollars with little benefit.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule amounted to a cap-and-trade system, which Congress rejected in 2009.

“Four years after a Democratic Senate rejected cap-and-trade, the administration continues its pursuit to regulate where Congress refused to legislate,” Upton said in a Monday statement.

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“As the American economy shrunk last quarter, why in the world is the president pushing regulations that will serve to increase utility rates for consumers, send manufacturing jobs overseas, and hamstring our economic recovery?” he said.

Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), chairman of the Energy and Commerce panel’s subcommittee on energy and power, cited a report released last week by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that found the EPA’s rule would cost $51 billion annually by 2030 and lead to a loss of 224,000 jobs.

“It is clear that this administration is pushing regulations that are full of costs and no benefits, ultimately bankrupting the American people,” Whitfield said. “We have already witnessed the failures and consequences of a government takeover of our health care system, and we can’t afford the same mistakes with government takeover of our energy sector.”

Whitfield’s subcommittee is planning a hearing on the proposal this month.

Sen. David Vitter (La.), the top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, called the proposal “all pain, no gain,” saying it will reduce carbon emissions by less than 2 percent worldwide. He also accused Obama of bringing back cap-and-trade.

“American families and businesses will have to shoulder all the costs and burden from this rule without contributing to any significant reduction in global carbon emissions,” Vitter said in a statement.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) repeated the “all pain, no gain” label.

“It will close power plants and drive up electricity prices,” Smith said in a statement. “These regulations will mean more jobs lost to places like China and India.”

Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said Obama should care about American workers as much as he cares about climate change.

“Instead, President Obama is proposing regulations that hamstring the economy, raising utility costs for families and destroying tens of thousands of jobs,” Cassidy said in a statement. “I will continue to push back against EPA over-regulation and fight for pro-growth energy policies that will help, not hurt, Louisiana businesses and families.”

Cassidy is running for the Senate in this year’s election against Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.).

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus accused Obama of circumventing Congress.

“Throughout his presidency, Barack Obama has adopted a my way or the highway approach and that explains why he’s shoving these EPA regulations down our throat,” he said in a statement.

The House passed a bill in March that would stop regulations like the power plant rule from taking effect without congressional approval.

On the Senate side, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has vowed to introduced legislation to block the rule, forcing senators to vote on it.