‘Social cost of carbon’ battle hits House floor

House Republicans are seeking to thwart the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to weigh the benefits of curbing carbon dioxide emissions when crafting regulations.

Two proposed amendments to legislation likely reaching the floor this week would limit the EPA's use of the “social cost of carbon (SCC),” a metric of estimated damages caused by heat-trapping emissions.

The Obama administration recently increased the SCC estimate used in federal rule-making, drawing criticism from GOP lawmakers.

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The underlying bill slated for debate allows the Energy Department (DOE) to block energy-related EPA rules estimated to cost more than $1 billion if the DOE determines they would significantly hurt the economy.

Rep. Tim Murphy’s (R-Pa.) planned amendment would prevent the EPA from factoring the SCC into those rules unless a federal law is enacted that specifically authorizes its consideration.

Reps. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and John Culberson (R-Texas) are offering a separate amendment to the underlying “Energy Consumers Relief Act.” 

Theirs would prevent use of the SCC in energy-related EPA rules covered by the bill unless the EPA promulgates a separate regulation enabling use of the metric.

The House Rules Committee on Tuesday evening decided that both amendments will come up during debate of the underlying “Energy Consumers Relief Act.”