The Republican-controlled House moved Thursday to block President Barack Obama’s plan to limit carbon pollution from new power plants, an election-year strike at the White House aimed at portraying Obama as a job killer.
Ten coal-state or Southern Democrats joined with Republicans to approve the bill, 229-183. Supporters said the measure was part of a strategy to fight back against what they call the Obama administration’s “war on coal.”
Obama’s proposal, a key part of his plan to fight climate change, would set the first national limits on heat-trapping pollution from future power plants.
A measure sponsored by Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., would require the Environmental Protection Agency to set carbon-emissions standards based on technology that has been in use for at least a year. Republicans and some coal-state Democrats say the EPA rule is based on carbon-capturing technology that does not currently exist.
Whitfield, chairman of a House subcommittee on energy and power, called the power-plant proposal “one of the most extreme regulations of the Obama administration,” adding that it would “make it impossible to build a new coal-fired power plant in America.”
Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., denounced the measure as “a science-denial bill” that would strip the EPA of its ability to block carbon pollution. Waxman and other Democrats said the bill was a blatant attempt to thwart the EPA and villify the Obama administration in an election year.
The White House has threatened to veto the measure, saying it would “undermine public-health protections of the Clean Air Act and stop U.S. progress in cutting dangerous carbon pollution from power plants.” Power plants account for about one-third of U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.