President Barack Obama has vetoed legislation to repeal Environmental Protection Agency regulations on power plants that are a key part of the administration’s global warming agenda.
Obama announced Sunday morning he would not be considering bills to repeal the EPA’s power plant rules, meaning the bills are subject to a “pocket veto.”
“The Clean Power Plan is a tremendously important step in the fight against global climate change,” Obama said in a statement. “[T]he resolution would overturn the Clean Power Plan, which is critical to protecting against climate change and ensuring the health and well-being of our nation, I cannot support it.”
Obama’s veto stops the last chance a Republican-controlled Congress has this year of derailing EPA rules to limit carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Congress passed bills in November that would have repealed these regulations under the Congressional Review Act.
“The president’s veto of legislation that would have halted his EPA’s regulatory overreach ignores reality in favor of politics, and leaves the legal system as the best remaining course for those of us who are seeking to protect consumers and businesses, at least during the remainder of this administration,” Karen Harbert, who heads up energy policy at the Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement.
The Chamber has joined dozens of business and union groups challenging the EPA’s power plant rules. Twenty-seven states have also sued the EPA, arguing its CO2 regulations violate the Clean Air Act and infringe on state powers to set their own energy policy.
“The EPA’s carbon regulations will irreversibly harm America’s power sector and raise the costs for every business and every American that uses electricity,” Harbert said. “These rules will negatively impact every industry and damage the economy without any significant reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions. We look forward to our day in court.”
Obama’s veto will likely be welcomed by environmentalists, who along with the administration, argue EPA rules are necessary to prove to the world the U.S. is taking global warming seriously. Obama and his allies say the U.S. needs to commit to emissions cuts if it wants other major countries, like China, to also fight warming.
Obama got his wish earlier this month when nearly 200 countries approved a United Nations treaty to cut global emissions levels, but the agreement is not legally binding — an international strategy used by the White House to keep any agreement from having to go before a Republican-controlled Senate.
Republican lawmakers have vowed to derail Obama’s global warming agenda, but the recent $1.1 trillion budget bill did little to keep the EPA from regulating CO2 emissions or keep the president from funding the U.N.’s Green Climate Fund.
The budget bill does, however, impose a little more oversight over EPA and holds the agency’s budget to $8.1 billion — that’s lower than the agency’s 2010 funding levels.
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