House passes EPA blocking bill

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill April 7 to permanently eliminate all of the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions even though the Senate rejected two other versions of the bill the day before.

"While the Senate was unable to pass Senator McConnell’s amendment to the Small Business Bill today, the vote demonstrates that Senators on both sides of the aisle understand the negative impact the Environmental Protection Agency’s new greenhouse gas regulations will have on manufacturing," said Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufactures, an industry trade group, in a statement.

President Barack Obama has said he would veto the bill that passed the House 255 to 172 but failed the Senate April 6, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Several policy additions called “riders” are in place to accomplish the same goals as the House’s Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011 and the failed Senate amendments. Those riders are now attached to a continuing resolution bill to fund the government.

With a government shutdown looming, environmentalist groups are worried that the Obama Administration might compromise on one or more of the riders and let the EPA lose some authority to pass the spending bill.

Among those riders are measures that would:

• Prohibit EPA use of funds to implement or enforce any statutory or regulatory requirement pertaining to emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide.

• Prohibit the EPA from using its funds to develop or enforce any regulation to define coal ash and other residue of power plant combustion as hazardous waste.

• Prohibit funding to create a Climate Service at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"The administration is encouraged by the Senate's actions to defend the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to protect public health under the Clean Air Act," the president said in a statement. "By rejecting efforts to roll back EPA's common-sense steps to safeguard Americans from harmful pollution, the Senate also rejected an approach that would have increased the nation's dependence on oil, contradicted the scientific consensus on global warming, and jeopardized America's ability to lead the world in the clean energy economy."

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