Rubio vows to undo Obama climate policies

Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioRubio: GOP Congress could go in different direction than Trump Poll: Clinton holds 4-point lead in Florida Republicans, it's time to stop asking 'What would Reagan do?' MORE (R-Fla.) pledged Wednesday to reverse President Obama’s major energy and climate policies if he’s elected to the White House in 2016.

Rubio hit Obama and Democratic front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonTrump to lay out first 100 days in Gettysburg speech GOP senator: Dems making ‘concerted effort to produce fraudulent votes’ Trump touts Navy expansion proposal in Pa. MORE for pursuing climate regulations he says are hampering the American energy industry during a speech in Oklahoma City.

He said, according to prepared remarks, that states, not the federal government, have the constitutional right are better suited to regulate energy production, a policy he would promote as president.

“When I take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States, I am going to take that oath very seriously — and that will include allowing the states to control their own energy futures,” he said.

Along those lines, Rubio said that he would block Obama’s newly announced climate rule for power plants, which he called “truly one of the most expensive and costly regulations ever created.”

“I will stop the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which, if enacted, would have a devastating impact on affordable energy in exchange for little to no environmental benefit,” he said.

“I will immediately stop this massive regulation. I’ll pursue a sweeping overhaul of the regulatory system to make sure costs and benefits of new rules are accurately accounted for and that localities, states, and industries can meet the timelines I set forward.”

Rubio also vowed to lift the ban on crude oil exports, something lawmakers are expected to vote on this fall, and strip away federal regulations on oil and gas development on federal lands. 

Rubio said Obama’s policies pick “winners and losers through subsidies and higher taxes” and said some of the environmental concerns that have driven administration regulators to issue strong new rules on the energy industry are “seriously overblown.”

“I believe that the vast majority of Americans – both Democrats and Republicans – are very reasonable when it comes to balancing ecology with the economy,” he said.

“And I believe it is conservatives, not liberals, who ultimately have the more sustainable and forward-looking agenda.”

Rubio’s speech comes as the Obama administration has expanded its focus on climate change.

Obama is on the third of a three-day trip to Alaska on Wednesday to inspect the impacts of climate change in the state. The Clean Power Plan, which looks to slash greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, came out last month, and the administration is gearing up to push for a major climate deal at a United Nations conference this year.

Clinton, the leading Democratic presidential candidate, began rolling out her energy plan over the summer, pledging to protect Obama’s environmental regulations if elected and expand the use of renewable power.

She has also said she opposes expanded off-shore oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean, something the Obama administration green-lit this year. The move signaled a potential shift left for Clinton, and a move away from the Obama administration on climate matters.

Rubio said Clinton’s energy policies are “more of the same ideas from yesterday.”

“For the most part, she resorts to empty rhetoric that refuses to chart much of a course in either direction,” he said. “This is no way to treat one of the most important issues of our time.”

--This report was updated at 2:40 p.m.