Senate Dems to EPA: Make climate rule stronger

A group of Senate Democrats are pressuring the administration to make its controversial climate regulation on carbon pollution from existing power plants stronger.

In a letter to Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyBusiness leaders must stand up and 'March for Science' on Saturday Trump isn't saving the coal industry. He's letting it compete. EPA chief: ‘Help is on the way’ for farmers MORE on Tuesday, the senators called on the administration to strengthen the requirements in its proposed rule and finalize a much stronger one that would result in steeper reductions to greenhouse gas emissions.

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The current proposal, which the EPA hopes to finalize by June 2015, mandates the nation’s fleet of existing power plants cut carbon dioxide emissions 30 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels.

“While the emission reduction goals of the Clean Power Plan are laudable, we believe that with modest changes to reflect real-world market and technological conditions, the plan can, and should, achieve even greater emissions reductions,” the letter states.

Democratic Sens. Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyOvernight Regulation: Lawmakers look to delay labor board ruling Senate Dems offer bill to restore internet privacy rules Dem senator on Gorsuch: 'The dark deed is done’ MORE (Ore.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDems crowd primaries to challenge GOP reps Senate votes to confirm Rosenstein as deputy attorney general Warren on Coulter: 'Let her speak' MORE (Mass.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinTrump, lower court nominees need American Bar Association review This week: Congress returns to government shutdown fight Hotel industry details plans to fight Airbnb MORE (Calif.), and Independent Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersObama plants himself on the wrong side of French elections. Trump’s must take action in Macedonia to fix the damage done by Obama and Clinton Trump said he would create ‘more jobs and better wages’ — he can start with federal contractors MORE (Vt.), along with a few others, said the EPA should require more renewable energy and energy efficiency deployment under certain building blocks of the rule.

“The Clean Power Plan will be the single most significant step this country has ever taken to tackle greenhouse gas emissions in the power sector, so it is essential that it be done right,” the letter states.

“For the Clean Power Plan to be a success, it must achieve the level of emissions reductions that the science calls for to avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change,” it adds.

The EPA wrapped up its public comment period on the carbon pollution proposal earlier this month.

Republicans, and the oil and coal industry, are among the greatest opponents of the proposal, arguing it would kill jobs, hurt the economy, and potentially harm the electric grid.

When Republicans take control of the Senate next year they plan to attack the president’s climate plan, specifically the carbon pollution rule and efforts by the administration to work with other nations fighting climate change.