OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Dems, GOP go head-to-head on climate rule

TRIAL BY COMBAT: Debate over the cornerstone regulation of President Obama's climate legacy turned into a war of dueling press conferences from Democrats and Republicans on Wednesday.

Both parties sought to dominate the news cycle Wednesday and bolster support for their side with clashing messaging campaigns.

Senate Democrats tore into Republicans Wednesday for their opposition to the EPA proposal, saying it showed how out of touch they are with voters who increasingly believe in climate change and want government action to mitigate it.

“This is what the American people want, and anyone who tries to undermine the president here is going against the will of the people,” Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara Boxer Becerra formally nominated for Calif. attorney general 10 freshmen to watch in the new Congress Top 15 Democratic presidential candidates in 2020 MORE (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said at a morning news conference.

“Republicans have a real political problem, much more 10 years from now than today,” said Sen. Chris MurphyChris MurphySenators wrestle with whether to back Tillerson Live coverage: The Senate's 'vote-a-rama' Rocky start for Trump's State Department nominee MORE (D-Conn.). “Eighteen to 35-year-olds in this country overwhelmingly support the president’s Climate Action Plan and believe in human contribution to climate change.”

On the other side of the Capitol, Republicans told Obama to take "his golf cap off and get his hard hat on."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellFive things to watch in round 2 of Trump confirmation fights This week: Confirmation fights dominate ahead of inauguration Juan Williams: Race, Obama and Trump MORE (R-Ky.) was joined by Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulSanders, Dems defend ObamaCare at Michigan rally Paul: Medicaid expansion 'the big question' Rand Paul: ObamaCare replacement goal is to insure most people at lowest cost MORE (R-Ky.), and Reps. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.), among others to rail against the EPA rules.

"I want him to walk the streets and I want him to look in face of moms and dads that rely every day on this precious product," Kelly said, calling on Obama to visit coal country and see the effect of the regulations. "This is coal's day in court."

The fate of the carbon pollution rules may very well depend on the power of the public relations push the White House launched this week, and its ability to muster support from the general public.

ON TAP THURSDAY I: International Monetary Fund director Christine Lagarde will join a conversation hosted by the Center for Global Development on taxing fossil fuel sources to help handle health and environmental costs.

ON TAP THURSDAY II: The Environmental and Energy Study Institute and the Sustainable Energy Coalition will co-host the Congressional Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Expo and Forum. The event’s speakers will include Reps. David Reichert (R-Wash.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Jim Himes (D-Conn.) and Paul Tonko (R-N.Y.); and representatives of the Defense Department, Energy Department and Small Business Administration.

Rest of Thursday's agenda ... The EPA’s power plant rule hearings wrap up Wednesday night in Atlanta, Denver and Washington, D.C. But Pittsburgh’s hearings on the proposal to cut power plant carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030 will start early Thursday morning, stretch on for 11 hours, and come back Friday for another full day.


Check out testimony from today's public hearing in Washington, D.C. on the EPA's carbon pollution rules...

Praise ... Advanced Energy Economy, a business group that advocates for clean energy, told the EPA Wednesday that its proposed power plant carbon reductions are “easy to achieve.”

“With solutions like energy efficiency, renewable energy, and natural gas power generation reducing greenhouse gas emissions will not be difficult,” Graham Richard, the organization’s chief executive officer, said at the EPA’s Washington, D.C., hearing on the rule Wednesday, according to a statement.

“Rather, it will become an opportunity to improve reliability, reduce costs, increase competition, and create new services for consumers,” Richard said. “This rule will drive investment in an electric power system that is sorely in need of it.”

Concern ... Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinFive things to watch in round 2 of Trump confirmation fights Warren blasts Trump for John Lewis criticism Dems prepare to face off with Trump's pick to lead EPA MORE told the EPA "there is no question that global warming is real and that seven billion people have impacted the world’s climate."

He added: "There is also no doubt that fossil fuels will be part of our energy portfolio for years to come. Those who choose not to believe that are deniers. We have too many deniers on both sides."

Manchin said he wants to work with the administration and the EPA to get the rules right. He said the current proposal does not strike the right balance between energy needs and global environmental concerns.


California and Mexico have signed a clean energy agreement in which both jurisdictions pledged to work together on renewable energy, biofuels and related subjects, Bloomberg BNA reports.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that the latest round of sanctions from the European Union will increase Europe’s energy costs, Reuters reports.

Conservative faith leaders were among the members of the public testifying in support of the EPA’s climate rule in Washington, D.C., the New York Times reports.


Check out Wednesday's stories...

- Feds give industry more time on offshore drilling plan
- EPA to Republicans: You're making it 'very difficult' to do our job
- Bill targets cost-benefit analysis of climate rule
- Senior House Dems push climate bill
- Paul RyanPaul RyanWeek ahead: Trump's health pick takes the hot seat Trump criticizes controversial piece of House GOP tax plan Hispanic Dems warn Latinos will be hit hard by ObamaCare repeal MORE says climate rule is illegal
- GOP to Obama: Take your 'golf cap off' and visit coal country
- GOP: Green movement backed by 'Billionaire's Club'
- Senators: GOP is out of touch on climate
- Capito ties Dem challenger to Obama in new ad
- McConnell: Obama's war on coal needs to be stopped
- Watchdog: EPA meeting internal climate change goals
- Steyer starts ads in Iowa Senate race
- Utility charged with obstruction in 2010 Calif. pipeline blast

Please send tips and comments to Laura Barron-Lopez, laurab@thehill.com, and Timothy Cama, tcama@thehill.com

Follow us on Twitter: @thehill @lbarronlopez @Timothy_Cama