First House hearing set on EPA climate rule

A House panel on Wednesday confirmed the first hearing next week over the administration's controversial climate rule limiting carbon pollution from power plants.

The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Energy and Power scheduled the hearing for June 19, barely two weeks after President Obama unveiled the new standards.

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It will be the first hearing in Congress on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules, but likely not the last as Republicans have blasted the administration for waging a "war on coal" they say will kill energy jobs and hurt the economy.

Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) told The Hill before the administration released its proposal to expect "a lot of pushback, a lot of hearings, and a lot of lawsuits" over the new rules.

The proposal, a crucial piece of Obama's second-term legacy, seeks to cut carbon dioxide emissions from the nation's fleet of existing power plants 30 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels.

“Under the guise of regulating power plants, President Obama’s agency is seeking to expand its regulatory reach over the entire electricity sector. It is crucial that Congress examines EPA’s expansive interpretation of its legal authority, the scope of these proposed regulations, and their potential impact on the future of American energy,” Whitfield said in a statement.

“There are highly controversial legal and policy issues surrounding this proposal, and the American public deserves a full understanding of the consequences of EPA’s regulatory actions for jobs and affordable energy," the subcommittee chairman added.

EPA assistant administrator for air and radiation, Janet McCabe, will be the sole witness at the hearing.