Senate committee votes to block implementation of EPA power plants rule

The Hill (8/5, Cama, Henry) reported the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee used a “hastily organized meeting” to “block implementation of the administration’s climate rule for power plants.” The panel’s 11 Republicans dc_capitol dome w scaffolding“wanted to pass the bill” opposing the Clean Power Plan “before August recess” began later Wednesday and chairman James Inhofe (R-OK) called the voice vote “while senators stood along the side of the room.” The Affordable Reliable Energy Now Act “would overturn” the Administration’s regulations “limiting carbon dioxide emissions” from power plants, while also placing “certain restrictions on the EPA that would make it extraordinarily hard, if not impossible, to rewrite the rules.” The committee’s Democrats “did not attend” the session after “they walked out of an earlier meeting, denying Republicans a quorum for their vote, due to objections over an unrelated bill on pesticides.”

Bloomberg Politics (8/5, Drajem) reports that President Obama “has pledged to veto” a bill that overturns the regulations, but Inhofe “said he will continue his fight and seek the Democratic votes to overturn a veto.” Inhofe said, “You gotta try. Whether we pick up enough votes to do that, I don’t know.” Meanwhile, National Journal (8/6, Plautz, Subscription Publication) reports Democrats “seem to have a strategy in mind” which includes “a slew of amendments that would keep forcing” Republicans “to go on the record about the impact of climate change and discuss a plan to fight it.”

In a Washington Times (8/6, Lewis) op-ed, Competitive Enterprise Institute senior fellow Marlo Lewis says the Clean Power Plan is a way for the President to select “winners and losers” in the energy market. Lewis says the rules “rig markets to artificially favor ‘green’ renewable sources of energy over more affordable fossil fuels.” According to Lewis, Congress “must act quickly and decisively to block the EPA’s unlawful, economically perilous coup.”

In a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (8/6, Ambrose) column, Jay Ambrose says the President’s “anti-scientific, anti-prosperity, anti-democratic” climate plan “does not add up.” According to Ambrose, “even if every iota of the massive move is accomplished,” there remains “no reason to think it would do much of anything positive.”

LATimes Analysis: Obama’s Climate-Change Plan To Face “Fierce” Court Challenge. The Los Angeles Times(8/6, Savage) reports President Obama’s “climate-change plan will face a fierce challenge” in the court system this fall when at least 15 states “join the coal and power industries to block the carbon-reducing rules before they take effect.” Opponents of the plan, according to the Times, “will argue” the Clean Air Act of the 1970s “did not authorize a national attack on greenhouse gases” and states “should not be forced to begin changing their systems” for producing power until the Supreme Court rules on the “legality” of the plan.

The Hill (8/6, Cama) reported that “sixteen states have formally asked” the EPA “to delay” the new rule. According to the Hill, “the long-shot request filed Wednesday…is the first step in their plans” for a court “challenge.” The states want the Obama administration “to put the rule on hold until all litigation against it is complete.” The AP (8/6) reports “the state effort is led by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.” The AP notes Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich “is joining” the case and “says the EPA doesn’t have the legal authority to issue the new rules.”

E&E Analysis: Traditional Oil, Gas States Oppose Being Directed On Energy Policy. E&E Publishing (8/6) reported that the “ferocity of comments” from three of the “most prominent energy-producing states” following the Clean Power Plan announcement shows “traditional oil and gas states” do not like “being told how energy policy should work.” E&E cites statements by Texas Gov. Greg Abbot, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, and Louisiana Attorney General James Caldwell as evidence.

Pyle: Pennsylvania Should Delay Implementation Of EPA’s Clean Power Plan. The State College (PA) Centre Daily Times (8/5) runs American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle’s op-ed calling on Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, state lawmakers, and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission not to comply with the EPA’s “Clean Power Plan” carbon regulation, and prevent utilities from acting, at least until the Supreme Court has ruled on the rules.

A version of the piece also appears in the Salt Lake (UT) Tribune (8/5), urging the Utah Gov. Gary Herbert to not submit a plan to the EPA and calling on Utah’s Public Service Commission to deny utilities’ restructuring bids until the Supreme Court rules on the matter.