GOP Demands Obama Dump New Carbon Emissions Rule

Image: GOP Demands Obama Dump New Carbon Emissions Rule

Thursday, 05 Jun 2014 08:42 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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More than 40 Republican senators have signed a letter demanding that President Barack Obama abandon his administration’s new climate-change regulation introduced on Monday.

The letter follows an outcry from GOP senators and governors over Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy’s announcement that for the first time there will be limits imposed on carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants, The Wall Street Journal reported.

"Our primary concern is that the rule as proposed will result in significant electricity rate increases and additional energy costs for consumers," according to the letter signed by 41 senators.

Although the cuts will vary by state, the government is seeking a national average of 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the fossil-fired plants by 2030, based on levels recorded in 2005.

The four Senate Republicans who did not sign the letter are Bob Corker of Tennessee, Susan Collins of Maine, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and John McCain of Arizona, according to the Journal.

A spokeswoman for Ayotte refused to comment on the senator’s reasons for not signing the letter, but pointed to a statement the senator had made that said she planned to "carefully weigh the costs and benefits of the EPA’s proposed rule."

The letter was circulated by Sens. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, the ranking Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, citing a study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that carbon limits would "increase America’s electricity bills, decrease a family’s disposable income, and result in job losses."

"Mostly, I'm concerned about the American families and businesses who are going to have to deal with the severe financial effects of the president's rule," Vitter said in a statement. "It's all pain, no gain. Clearly, this administration prioritizes pushing a far-left environmental agenda over providing affordable, reliable electricity across the country."

"This Obama administration national energy tax would ship middle class jobs overseas, shatter our manufacturing base, and drive up energy costs for families, and especially families in Kentucky," McConnell said in the statement. "It's a dagger aimed right at the heart of the American middle class."

White House spokesman Matt Lehrich slammed the GOP’s letter, calling the Republicans who signed it friends of the "polluters," according to the Journal.

"We’ve said from the start that the polluters and their allies in Congress will fight tooth and nail to protect profits at the expense of public health," Lehrich said.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a North Dakota Democrat, did not add her name to the letter, even though she has been highly critical of the regulations.

She teamed with Sen. John Barrasso, a Wyoming Republican, to write a commentary in the Journal this week that said the new rule would deliver "minimal environmental benefits" while using "extreme and expensive regulations" that amount to "a national energy tax."

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