Landrieu admits Energy gavel may have limits

 

Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu's highly touted chairmanship on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee might not allow her to dive into the administration's new climate rule as much as she'd like.

Landrieu, who is facing a tough reelection battle this year, has run multiple ads boasting her powers as head of the Senate panel, and what it means for her pro-fossil fuels state of Louisiana.

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And while Landrieu slammed the administration for its new proposal calling for 30 percent cuts in carbon dioxide emissions from the nation's existing power plants by 2030, she admitted the standards are out of her jurisdiction.

"Most of that jurisdiction is in the [Environment and Public Works Committee] not the Energy Committee," Landrieu told reporters when asked if she'd use her perch on Senate Energy to push back against the rules.

When the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled the standards Monday, Landrieu railed against the agency for regulating carbon pollution, a move she said should be handled by Congress.

"I don't think this should be done through regulation, I think it should be done through congressional action," Landrieu said.

Landrieu's challenger, Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), slammed the Democrat Monday for voting for EPA chief Gina McCarthy, who spearheaded rules that both candidates oppose.

Landrieu has been a vocal critic of the administration's energy policy on coal and on Keystone XL, but the new rules may create added pressure for her to deliver.

She told The Hill that she plans to continue to have hearings on the "importance of America being an energy secure, independent nation."

As chairwoman on the committee, she also plans to throw as much support as possible behind the "manufacturing renaissance" that is taking place in Louisiana and around the country.

But when it comes to the carbon rules, which are expected to push the coal electric generation from 37 percent down to 30 by 2030, Landrieu's best bet may be getting behind Republican's push to block the standards.

"Well, Sen. [Mitch] McConnell (R-Ky.) is trying to block the rule, I think I've signed onto that effort," Landrieu told The Hill. "But as I've said I don't think it should be done by rule, it should be done by law. And the hearings that I do over the course of the next couple of weeks and months will create some kind of framework for that to happen."

Landrieu did say that there were some wise approaches taken by the EPA in the rule, mainly the flexibility it will afford states when choosing what avenues they will use to meet carbon reduction targets, and a long lead time.