Republicans revive attacks on Obama’s power plant rule

Republicans revive attacks on Obama’s power plant rule

House Republicans renewed their criticism of the Obama administration’s climate rule for power plants on Friday. 

A House Science Committee panel held the chamber’s first hearing on the Clean Power Plan since the administration finalized the rule in early August. 

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Republicans have long opposed the plan. The House passed a Republican-backed bill to blocking the regulations in June, and a Senate panel did the same in the days after the EPA released its finalized rule.

During Friday’s hearing, Republicans had no kind words for the regulations.

“The Obama administration ignored the outcry from stakeholders and the American public when it issued the final rule on its power plan,” Committee chairman Lamar SmithLamar Seeligson SmithEx-officers acquitted in beating of Black colleague who was undercover at St. Louis protests Bottom line In partisan slugfest, can Chip Roy overcome Trump troubles? MORE (R-Texas) said. 

“This final rule is another example of the president and his Environmental Protection Agency sidestepping Congress to push an extreme environmental agenda.”

Rep. Jim BridenstineJames (Jim) Frederick BridenstineSpaceX all-civilian crew returns to Earth, successfully completing 3-day mission SpaceX all-civilian crew calls Tom Cruise from space How will Biden's Afghanistan debacle impact NASA's Artemis return to the moon? MORE (R-Okla.) said the rule “places tremendous costs on the American people for very little benefit.” He cheered states, including his own, that have pushed back against the rule.

“My home state of Oklahoma, which has been leading the charge against EPA’s onerous rule, recognizes that this rule will harm reliability and impose massive costs on its citizens,” he said.

“I applaud Oklahoma’s efforts to fight against the EPA and its activist, overbearing regulatory agenda.”

Three state environmental regulators testified at the hearing, including two from states — Ohio and Texas — that have either sued or promised to sue against the plan. 

Craig Butler, the director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, said he was concerned about the impact the plan would have on Ohio's manufacturing industry and the fact that the final rule gave the state a higher emission reduction target.

“While we continue to review the final review, our fundamental legal and technical questions persist or continue to grow,” he said. 

Democrats, though, pushed back on the criticism. 

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), the ranking member on the committee, said the rule will help improve public health by combating climate change. 

She said the rule sends an important signal to the rest of the world, ahead of a major United Nations climate conference later this year, that the U.S. will do what it can on climate issues. 

“I suspect we will hear some of the same old arguments we’ve heard about the Clean Power Plan, that it will cause nothing but harm to the economy, that the federal government is overstepping its authority, that the rule is unnecessary and that it won’t make a difference in the long run,” she said.

“We know that these assertions are just not true.”