House to vote on "War on coal" package

September 19, 2012

The U.S. House is scheduled to vote on a Republican-backed bill that aims to thwart White House environmental policies that Republicans call economically burdensome by heading off rules from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to curb pollution.

The “stop the war on coal” package provides Republicans a final chance before November’s election to use the House floor as a platform to slam President Obama’s green agenda, The Hill reported.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA.) said that the votes on Sept. 21 will be the last Capitol Hill work session before the voters go to the polls.

The measure would prevent rules on greenhouse gases from power plants, stop EPA officials from yanking already-issued permits for coal mines, and mandate that ash waste from coal- fired plants be regulated by states, not the federal government.

“The only way to prevent even more victims from this war on coal is for Congress to step up and pass legislation to stop EPA from abusing the Clean Air Act,” Michigan Republican Fred Upton, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said in a statement.

Bloomberg reported than an energy subcommittee is also set to examine related legislation that would prevent the EPA from finalizing a proposal to limit carbon-dioxide emissions from new power plants.

Many Democrats and environmentalists say Republicans are seeking to prevent or roll back vital public health protections. They argue that headwinds facing the coal industry stem from low costs and large supplies of natural gas, not federal regulation.

Elsewhere in Congress, a House Energy and Commerce Committee panel will meet Thursday for a hearing on coal-related legislation.

Rep. David McKinley’s (R-WV) bill would prevent EPA from imposing carbon emissions standards on coal-fired power plants until federal officials determine carbon capture and storage technology is “technologically and economically feasible.”




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