Lawmakers mobilize quickly against Obama climate change rule

Greg Nash

Lawmakers are mobilizing quickly against the new climate change rule from President Obama, announcing they will file formal congressional challenges on Monday. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellGiffords-backed gun control group endorses Toomey, Kirk Republicans say party can’t afford to cut ties to Trump McConnell calls for ObamaCare money to be used for Zika MORE (R-Ky.) on Friday said he and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) will introduce a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pollution standards for new power plants. 

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Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) will introduce a resolution opposing the EPA’s existing power plant rule at the same time. McConnell’s office said he will schedule a vote on the resolutions shortly afterward.

“I have vowed to do all I can to fight back against this administration on behalf of the thousands of Kentucky coal miners and their families, and this CRA is another tool in that battle,” McConnell said in a statement. 

“The CRAs that we will file will allow Congress the ability to fight these anti-coal regulations.”

In the House, Rep. Ed WhitfieldEd WhitfieldHouse lawmakers urge Obama to forgo lame-duck TPP vote Ethics panel rebukes Kentucky Republican ‘Un-American’ charge ignites hearing on EPA rules MORE (R-Ky.) will introduce the resolutions.

The Obama administration published the Clean Power Plan in the Federal Register on Friday, a move that launched a string of lawsuits and set in motion formal congressional challenges to the rule.

Under the CRA, lawmakers opposed to a new executive branch regulation can block it through an act of Congress in the 60 days after it is published. Conservatives and coal-state lawmakers have vowed to do just that, though President Obama has threatened to veto any effort to undo his climate rules. 

The House has approved a bill to block the climate rule, and a Senate panel has signed off on a Capito bill doing the same. 

“Nothing in the Clean Air Act suggests EPA has such sweeping authority to implement this complicated and far-reaching scheme to commandeer each state’s electricity system,” Whitfield said in a statement. 

“Monday will mark an important milestone in our fight to keep the lights on and protect jobs and affordable energy as I will introduce two resolutions under the Congressional Review Act disapproving of these rules.” 

The Clean Power Plan is the signature component of Obama’s climate action plan. The rule is designed to cut carbon emissions from the power sector by 32 percent by 2030, compared with 2005 levels. 

Under the rule, states are assigned a specific emissions goal and told to design a plan to meet the target.

A group of 24 states sued against the rule on Friday, with utilities and commodity groups certain to do the same.