House panel approves bills undoing Obama climate rules

House panel approves bills undoing Obama climate rules

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has approved legislation to block new power plant rules from the Obama administration.

The panel passed two resolutions Wednesday from Rep. Ed WhitfieldWayne (Ed) Edward 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.) to undo the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan limiting emissions from existing power plants and a similar rule for new power stations.

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Republicans and some Democrats have rallied against the rules, warning that they will raise energy prices, put grid reliability at risk and hurt the coal sector.

The resolutions — which, under the Congressional Review Act, would formally block the rules from taking effect — are their formal response to the regulations. Both passed on 28-21 votes.

“EPA’s rules seek to change fundamentally the way we generate, distribute and consume electricity across the country,” committee Chairman Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonGOP split on immigration is a crisis for Ryan’s team GOP leaders huddle with discharge petition backers, opponents Leaders warn Republicans against forcing immigration vote MORE (R-Mich.) said.

“These resolutions are ultimately about protecting hard-working people from higher electricity prices, threats to grid reliability, and EPA’s economy-wide energy tax.”

The resolutions are similar to those passed on the Senate floor Tuesday night. The White House said Obama would veto any legislation that looks to stop the power plant rules, the cornerstone of his climate change platform.

Whitfield has previously acknowledged the likelihood of a veto. But during the committee meeting, he said the resolutions still have merit.

“Maybe the president will veto it, but the American people are upset about this because of the unprecedented action being taken, and it’s an opportunity for us to simply express the concerns we have,” he said.

Democrats have, broadly, supported the climate rules. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), the ranking Democrat on the energy panel, said considering the resolutions is a waste of time, given Obama’s veto threat.

“For 45 years, industry has made doomsday claims that clean air regulations would destroy businesses and jobs, drive prices skyward, and cripple economic growth,” Pallone said.

“The path outlined in the Clean Power Plan and EPA's rule for new power plants, is the path to cleaner air, better health, a safer climate, and a stronger economy.”