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 McCarthyAs oral arguments approach, Clean Power Plan remains a threat to our most vulnerable EPA blasted over lack of protection of minorities U.S. and Puerto Rico must cooperate on Zika 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 Finance: McConnell offers 'clean' funding bill | Dems pan proposal | Flint aid, internet measure not included | More heat for Wells Fargo | New concerns on investor visas Wells CEO Stumpf resigns from Fed advisory panel Senate Dems call for investigation into Wells Fargo's wage practices MORE (Ore.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOvernight Cybersecurity: FBI probes possible hack of Dems' phones | Trump's '400-pound hacker' | Pressure builds on Yahoo | Poll trolls run wild Wells Fargo board to decide on executive clawbacks Labor Department launches Wells Fargo review MORE (Mass.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinWH tried to stop Intel Dems' statement on Russian hacking: report This week: Shutdown deadline looms over Congress Week ahead: Election hacks, Yahoo breach in the spotlight MORE (Calif.), and Independent Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats target Libertarian ticket Senate Dems: Don't leave for break without Supreme Court vote Sanders: Young voters will 'come on board' Clinton's campaign 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.