House Republicans on Monday released a bill to delay the Obama administration’s plan to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants.
Rep. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky unveiled a draft bill that would allow governors to veto compliance with the federal rule if the governor determines it would cause significant rate hikes for electricity or harm reliability in the state.
The bill also would delay the Environmental Protection Agency’s climate rule until all court challenges are completed.
Whitfield, chairman of the energy and power subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce panel, said the EPA’s proposed rule to limit carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants is riddled with problems and faces an uphill battle in the courts.
Whitfield and other Republicans cited testimony from an unlikely ally, Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe, an Obama mentor who has said the proposed EPA rule is unconstitutional.
Tribe, a one time champion of the environmental movement, said the EPA is attempting what he called “an unconstitutional trifecta: usurping the prerogatives of the states, Congress and the federal courts — all at once.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., also cited Tribe’s comments in a letter urging the nation’s 50 governors to defy Obama’s power plant rules by refusing to submit compliance plans to Washington.
Democrats and environmentalists have criticized Tribe, noting that his testimony follows comments he submitted in December on behalf of Peabody Energy Corp., the world’s largest private-sector coal company.
The measure unveiled Monday does not block the EPA rule outright, as previous GOP bills have intended, but Whitfield said he is confident the measure would protect states and consumers.
A spokesman for Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat who has worked with Whitfield on previous EPA legislation, said the senator is reviewing Whitfield’s proposal.
Whitfield said he has scheduled an April 14 hearing on his bill.