Tags: GOP | McConnell | Keystone | EPA

GOP Vows Major Keystone Push, Repeal of 'Onerous EPA Regulations'

By    |   Tuesday, 11 November 2014 09:14 AM

Incoming Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans are increasing the pressure on the White House to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, and have vowed to make it a priority in the next Congress.

They also wish to repeal two Environmental Protection Agency regulations at the center of the president's climate change policy, but will more likely only have the power to delay, defund, or sideline them, as the president is nearly certain to veto any legislation, The New York Times reported.

"We know that there will be attempts to impede or scale back our actions," John Podesta, senior White House counselor leading the climate agenda, said in a statement, according to the Times. "We're confident we can prevail."

One of the regulations would cut carbon pollution and ultimately coal-fired power plants in McConnell's home state of Kentucky, so the fight is personal. He promised during his campaign that he would protect the industry which generates 90 percent of the state's electricity.

"I have heard from Kentuckians across the commonwealth about the pain being inflicted on them by EPA's unilateral actions," McConnell said in a statement. "I fully intend to do everything I can do to fight these onerous EPA regulations."

As a separate step, McConnell has signaled he intends to cut the EPA's budget and also create provisions that would repeal the agency's regulations in key spending bills, setting the Senate on a collision course with the president over funding the government, the Times reported.

Oklahoma GOP Sen. James Inhofe, meanwhile, is expected to use his chairmanship of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to delay the regulations and seek funding cuts. He will also likely hold hearings forcing the EPA administrator to answer to the Senate.

"He was willing to do aggressive oversight during the Bush administration," Andrew Wheeler, former chief of staff to Inhofe, told the Times. "This time, it's going to be very aggressive."

Meanwhile, Republicans are also expected to enact legislation forcing President Barack Obama to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, after years of delaying his decision on its construction.

"I think there is probably a deal to be had on Keystone," David Goldwyn, former head of the State Department's Bureau of Energy Resources, told the Times. "If Republicans attach Keystone to a budget bill, I don't think he's so principally opposed to it that he would veto it."

As a signal that securing the approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline is at the top of his agenda, McConnell discussed it just days after the midterm victories in a joint editorial with House Speaker John Boehner in The Wall Street Journal

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US
Incoming Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans are increasing the pressure on the White House to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, and have vowed to make it a priority in the next Congress.
GOP, McConnell, Keystone, EPA
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2014-14-11
Tuesday, 11 November 2014 09:14 AM
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