The Senate passed two resolutions under the Congressional Review Act Tuesday night repealing the key plank of the Environmental Protection Agency’s global warming regulatory agenda.
Senators also happened to pass CRA resolutions against the EPA’s Clean Power Plan on Oklahoma Republican Sen. [crscore]Jim Inhofe[/crscore]’s 81st birthday. Inhofe has been a lead Republican against the EPA’s climate regulations and even wrote a book calling global warming the “greatest hoax.”
“It brings me great joy for the Senate to come together in a majority, bipartisan vote to disapprove of this economically disastrous carbon mandate from the administration,” Inhofe said in a statement on the CRA votes.
President Barack Obama is almost certain to veto the legislation to repeal key parts of his Climate Action Plan, but senators hope these symbolic votes will show the president the majority of Americans oppose his regulations which could raise energy prices.
“This vote sends a clear signal to the international community that the American people will not stand in support for an agreement that would result in double-digit electricity prices in 40 states, put hundreds of thousands of people out of work, and have no meaningful impact on global warming,” Inhofe said. “In this country, it is Congress who writes the laws, not EPA.”
CRA bills were introduced by a bipartisan group of senators, including Senate Majority Leader [crscore]Mitch McConnell[/crscore] of Kentucky and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Both bills passed in a 52 to 46 vote — a CRA bill only needs 51 votes to pass and allows Congress to block major regulations from taking affect.
Environmentalists and most Democrats came out against Tuesday’s CRA votes. Activists said the CRA bills were pointless because Obama would veto them and the international community is already set to agree to a global climate treaty next month.
“The GOP leadership has no plan to address dangerous carbon pollution and is hell-bent on blocking any progress on the central environmental challenge of our time,” David Doniger, director of the climate and clean air program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement.
“With the international community poised to take unprecedented steps to combat climate change, it’s time for climate deniers to stop trying to block responsible leaders from protecting our health, our planet and the future of all our children,” Doniger said.
World leaders are set to meet in Paris this month for a United Nations climate summit that’s expected to yield a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol. The White House and environmentalist allies are pushing hard for some sort of agreement to cut global carbon dioxide emissions.
Much of the hope surrounding the Paris talks hinges on the fact that China and the U.S. have pledged to address global warming. China, however, has not pledged to make any actual cuts to emissions until after 2030. The U.S., on the other hand, has promised to cut emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2025.
Politicians and environmentalists are still optimistic about a treaty despite news that all the individual countries’ commitments taken together will have no measurable impact on global warming, according to climate modelers.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg of problems plaguing any climate treaty. American opposition could also derail any meaningful U.N. agreement. Inhofe noted that “27 states, 24 national trade associations, 37 rural electric cooperatives, 10 major companies and 3 labor unions representing 878,000 members are now challenging the final rule in court.”
“This rule faces a dead end road with these entities requesting a judicial stay that will put the rule on hold early next year,” Inhofe said. “There will be no possibility of legislative resurrection once the courts render the final judgments on the president’s carbon mandates.”
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