Coal, Emissions, Policy & Regulations

Senate Passes Resolutions Blocking Clean Power Plan; President Promises Vetoes

The Senate on Tuesday blocked the Obama administration’s new rules for carbon emissions at new and existing power plants. 

The Clean Power Plan (CPP) calls for a 32-percent reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from 2005 levels by 2030.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said in a statement Tuesday “the U.S. Senate voted to stand up for Middle Class Americans…by voting to overturn the Obama Administration’s deeply regressive energy regulations that would eliminate good-paying jobs…”

Following the August release and subsequent October publication of the CPP in the the Federal Register, lawmakers in more than two dozen states said they would sue over the rule, which does not go into effect until 60 days after publication, during which time the regulations can be reviewed.

On Tuesday evening, the Senate passed a resolution that would block the CPP, 52 to 46.  A second resolution striking down an EPA rule intended to halt construction of future coal plants also passed 52-46.

The House is expected to pass a companion resolution in December.

President Obama has promised to veto the measures if they reach his desk.

“The resolution would impede efforts to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants — the largest source of carbon pollution in the country — when the need to act, and to act quickly, to mitigate climate change impacts on American communities has never been more clear,” White House officials said in a statement.

Congress likely won’t have the votes to override the president’s vetoes, but Republicans hope the votes send a message of doubt ahead of this month’s international climate talks in Paris that the president can effectively address the matter.

During the summit, President Obama will attempt a deal that would commit every nation to policies to halt climate change, but, as the New York Times reports, the strength of America’s stance relies on the enactment of the CPP.