Week ahead: GOP moves to block Obama climate rule

Lawmakers opposed to the Obama administration’s climate rule for power plants are moving to block the regulations from taking effect.

Several senators will offer Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolutions Monday that seek to stop the Clean Power Plan. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate passes 0B defense bill Overnight Health Care: New GOP ObamaCare repeal bill gains momentum Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea MORE (R-Ky.), a longtime opponent of carbon regulations for the power sector, will schedule a vote on the resolutions soon after they come out.

“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.

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The Congressional Review Act gives lawmakers the ability to end an executive branch regulation through an act of Congress.

In the House, Rep. Ed WhitfieldEd WhitfieldWhy Republicans took aim at an ethics watchdog What Azerbaijan wants from Israel? Overnight Energy: Green group sues Exxon over climate science MORE (R-Ky.) will also file a challenge to the rule, as well as another that sets carbon limits for new power plants.

Lawmakers have long looked for ways to block the climate rule, which aims to cut carbon emissions from power plants by 32 percent over 2005 levels by 2030.

The House approved a Whitfield bill earlier this year effectively blocking the rule, and a Senate committee did the same in August.

Members’ efforts are likely for naught, though, given President Obama’s promise to veto any legislation that undoes his climate rules. The Clean Power Plan is the central component of Obama’s environmental agenda.

Legal challenges against the rule are likely to continue flowing as well. More than half the states affected by the rule have challenged it, and dozens of private entities — coal companies, interest groups, a labor union and others — filed suit against the rule after it was published in the Federal Register on Friday.

Clean Power Plan supporters, though, have pledged to defend the rule in court. Democratic state attorneys general are likely to file motions supporting the rule, and environmental groups could do the same.

A House Science subcommittee on Thursday be will the first congressional panel to take up the published rule when it looks into the regulation’s “costs and challenges.”

Another Obama administration environmental proposal — on mountaintop mining — is on the agenda in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Members will hear from the Interior Department and the National Mining Association on the administration’s stream protection rule on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee will hold a hearing on radioactive waste disposal on Wednesday.

Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee on energy, will deliver remarks on nuclear waste at the Bipartisan Policy Center on Tuesday.

 

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