House votes to block proposed EPA rules for coal-fired power plants

The U.S. House of Representatives in a vote of 229 to 183 have approved a bill to block proposed regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) setting stricter emissions limits on new and existing fossil-fueled power plants.

Bill H.R. 3826, or the Electricity Security and Affordability Act, was created in response to pending regulations published by EPA, which would establish national limits on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from new power plants fueled by coal or natural gas.

H.R. 3826 seeks the establishment of standards it says are better aligned with existing technologies for environmental controls and requires Congress to set an effective date for EPA regulations affecting existing power stations.

EPA’s proposed rule for GHG emissions from new coal-fired power plants would set the requirement to install carbon capture and sequestration technology, a move opponents of the rule have said would effectively ban coal power in the U.S.

The authors of the bill, Sen. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), wrote in the Huffington Post, “Our bill will base emissions standards for new plants on the best performing technologies actually in use today. For existing plants, Congress will weigh in to ensure that states are accorded the proper role intended for them under the Clean Air Act, and that consumers are not subject to skyrocketing costs. Far from barring EPA from controlling greenhouse gas emissions, by insisting on standards based on proven technologies our approach will actually work.”

Ahead of the House vote Thursday, the White House issued a statement saying the President would veto H.R. 3826 because it “threatens the health and economic welfare of future generations by blocking important standards to reduce carbon pollution from the power sector.”

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