Omnibus spending bill hits key Obama energy regs

The omnibus spending bill unveiled by lawmakers Monday night softens a number of key energy and climate regulations put forward by the Obama administration.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) said to expect energy compromises in the deal before it was revealed Monday night.

{mosads}One of the more notable provisions prohibits a move by the U.S. Export-Import Bank and Overseas Private Investment Corporation to cut financing for power plants that don’t curb carbon emissions.

In December, the Export-Import Bank announced the new guidelines for coal-fired power plants based on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rules.

The revised environmental procedures would prevent financing for power plants unless they adopt carbon capture, allowing some flexibility with the world’s poorest countries.

Fred P. Hochberg, president and chairman of Ex-Im, justified the move by the bank to align itself with President Obama’s goal to cut carbon pollution by touting the number of jobs it has supported, while also considering environmental costs.

But the provision added in the omnibus gives coal and other power generation projects the go-ahead, which will increase exports of U.S. goods or services, Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said in a statement.

Other energy riders in the omnibus bill include a ban on the administration’s light bulb efficiency standard. Manufacturers already started phasing in the 2007 ban on bulbs that don’t meet energy efficiency standards nearly two years ago.

But Republicans have long opposed the standards, calling it an example of a nanny state.

The bill also maintains prior-year funding levels for the controversial Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump in Nevada. The little funding left, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says, is only enough to complete a safety study of the project.

The Energy Department opposed the facility, deeming it unsafe for long-term storage.

For more details on the $1.012 trillion omnibus spending bill check, The Hill’s On the Money blog has more here.

Tags Barbara Mikulski carbon emissions Export-Import Bank Fred Hochberg Yucca Mountain

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