The Republican-led U.S. Senate voted to repeal the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan Tuesday evening.
The resolution S.J.Res. 24, was approved by a 52-46 vote in the upper chamber of Congress.
Discontent with the carbon-reduction plan had been simmering among conservatives in both the House and Senate, with business and industry groups as well as some unions saying the plan will hurt many local economies and increase energy rates.
Ahead of the vote, the Senate Republican Policy Committee issued a statement saying the plan was a non-starter for the newly-emboldened caucus.
“After seven years of review that yielded five favorable environmental reports, the administration rejected the Keystone XL pipeline – and all of its economic, energy security, and environmental benefits – for no reason other than to send a message to other countries that President Obama is a global “leader” on climate change,” read the report.
“The CO2 rules for new and existing power plants are no different. Their most immediate purpose is to serve as a message that President Obama can tout as he seeks to win the approval of his international peers as a global “leader” on climate issues,” the GOP senators’ caucus stated.
State officials, including Attorney General Luther Strange, have offered persistent resistance to the plan. Strange called the plan unacceptable, and said the administration’s efforts to support them amount to “propaganda.”
“The Environmental Protection Agency’s new Clean Power Plan continues the Obama administration’s theme of ignoring the legal limits on its executive authority in order to satisfy a political agenda that places the lowest priority on the rights of coal industry workers and American consumers,” said Strange, who joined a national push to delay or cancel implementation of the CPP earlier this year.
“Under the EPA rule, Alabamians’ average annual household energy bills could rise by more than $800 a year by the time the plan is fully implemented. This places an undue burden on those who can least afford it, including the poor, the elderly and others on fixed incomes. What’s more, it punishes as many as 16,000 Alabamians whose jobs are dependent upon the coal industry,” said Strange.
A total of 27 states have filed lawsuits against the rule governing existing power plants, including Alabama under Strange.
Both of Alabama’s senators, Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby have castigated the administration over the plan, saying it would kill coal-based jobs in Alabama and around the region, as have U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer and Mike Rogers.
President Barack Obama has said he will veto any measure akin to the one passed by today’s vote. The status of a possible override remains uncertain.
State utilities and the Alabama Public Service Commission have passed voluntary plans to help reach emissions standards, but call the EPA’s plan an example of executive branch overreach.
See below for an image created by the Republican Senate Policy Committee on what they claim are likely rate changes should the Clean Power Plan be enacted.