Panel sets floor votes on climate science, EPA mine veto power

The underlying GOP bill, which Republicans say is meant to counter a White House "war on coal," would scuttle EPA’s power to regulate greenhouse gases.

To get there, it includes language repealing EPA’s 2009 “endangerment finding” that the gases threaten public health and welfare, which provides the legal underpinning for various federal climate regulations.

Waxman’s amendment would remove the language that overturns the endangerment finding.

That effectively forces a debate on the wisdom of overturning a scientific finding when Republicans are seeking to keep political attention on what they contend are the negative economic effects of EPA rules.

In addition to scuttling climate rules, the underlying bill would take aim at other air emissions rules, including air toxics standards for coal-fired power plants; prevent EPA from issuing stringent rules on storage and disposal of coal ash, a waste product from coal-fired power plants; and limit the agency’s Clean Water Act powers, among other provisions.

The White House issued a veto threat Wednesday evening.

The bill is expected to pass the GOP-led House but is extremely unlikely to surface in the Senate, where Democrats are in charge.