Will Senate Dems fight Manchin on coal rules?

Senate Democrats appear unlikely to fight a provision in Sen. Joe Manchin's (D-W.Va.) Export-Import Bank legislation that would roll back a piece of President Obama's climate agenda.

While Democratic leaders in the Senate have fought tooth and nail to block multiple Republican challenges to the president's climate rules, they appear ready to stand down on the provision in Manchin's bill.

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The provision would block new guidelines Ex-Im adopted in December in response to administration-wide climate change efforts. The new restrictions prohibit financing for power plants overseas unless they adopt carbon capture technology, though there are exceptions for the world's poorest countries..

Manchin's bill would reverse those restrictions, delivering what would be a major victory for the coal industry.

Even the Senate's staunchest environmental advocates, such as Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), said they might let the measure slide in order to ensure reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank's charter.

When asked about the coal provision, Boxer said, "I've asked my staff to tell me exactly how many power plants have applied to the Ex-Im. I'm looking to see how many of the Ex-Im's loans have been directed at power plants."

While Boxer said she doesn't support Manchin's measure, she doesn't know "if it's even relevant or it matters" in the end.

When asked what his fellow Democrats thought of the coal additive to the bill, Manchin said, "Well hopefully we can clean up the climate by using the best technology in the world."

Manchin added: "Everybody is happy."