Congress Tries to Undermine EPA on Climate Change
Excerpt from Audubon posted March 15, 2014:
Burrowing Owls need help to survive widespread habitat destruction & climate change.
Photo by Kurt Wecker, Audubon Photo Awards
As part of the never-ending attacks on the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to reduce carbon pollution from both new and existing power plants, the House this week passed the Whitfield-Manchin bill (HR 3826) by a vote of 229-183.Climate change is the number one threat to birds and global biodiversity.
This bill would require Congress to set a date before EPA could move forward on its proposed rule to curb carbon pollution from existing power plants. Getting such a date from Congress is highly unlikely, so this bill effectively strangles the EPA’s ability to work on climate change.
While passage in the House was a foregone conclusion, more troubling is a possible strong bid in the Senate (S 1905) as West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) buttonholes his colleagues to give it a serious look.
EPA has held a series of listening sessions and is working closely with states to get advice on the best way to reduce carbon pollution—the leading cause of climate change—without creating undue burdens on the economy. The draft rule on regulating carbon from existing power plants, responsible for 40% of the carbon pollution in the U.S., is expected this summer. In the meantime, EPA is also collecting comments on the final rule to curb pollution from new power plants, wrapping up a multi-year process to finalize this first, but important, step.
Another, even more technical attack on EPA’s ability to move forward on climate change may come from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in coming weeks and its effect would be much the same—shutting down EPA’s ability to limit carbon pollution. If either of these bills starts to get traction in the Senate, you can expect to to hear from us that your urgent help is needed to keep EPA on the job.