Senate votes down Rand Paul move to curb EPA regs

Yesterday, the United States Senate took up a proposal brought forward by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul which would have rolled back the implementation of new EPA “cross-state air pollution rule.” We’ve written about this impending disaster more times than I can count, and by this time I think everyone is aware of the number of jobs this is going to cost, on top of the additional strain on the nation’s power grid and the increased energy costs to consumers which will result. Senator Paul’s measure looked like a good first step.

The Senate votes today on a measure that would put the breaks on one of the Obama EPA’s most destructive proposed rules, and bring a measure of accountability to the regulatory agency that has greatly overstepped its boundaries under EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

If passed, the bill, proposed by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, will register Congress’ disapproval of the EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution rule and, if the EPA goes ahead with the rule as planned, allow Congress to overturn it by a simple majority vote.

Both John Boehner and Eric Cantor have listed the cross-state regulations on their top ten list of regulations which will hinder job growth and blow up the deficit. So this one should have been a walk in the park, right? Let’s see how that worked out for us.

The Senate on Thursday blocked Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) bid to kill new EPA power plant pollution rules.

In a 41-56 vote, lawmakers thwarted Paul’s resolution to overturn the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which requires curbs in smog and particulate-forming pollution from plants in 27 states in the eastern half of the country.

Six Republicans voted with Democrats against the resolution. Centrist Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.) joined Republicans in voting to overturn the rule.

There were originally a small group of Republicans lining up against Paul’s bill, described by the New Hampshire Journal as “The Jackson Five.” (In honor of EPA chief Lisa Jackson.) They were Maine’s two senators, Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Scott Brown of Massachusetts. At the eleventh hour another name joined the list… Mark Kirk. (R-Illinois) So I suppose now it’s the Jackson Six? Doesn’t have the same ring to it.

This is bad news for those concerned with domestic energy independence and job creation, of course, but it may also force President Obama into yet another uncomfortable position. He has slowly but surely been caving in on allowing any big regulatory or environmental headlines to hit the news before the next election. He already pulled back on the mercury emissions guidelines implementation, and this week he bailed out on any decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. Can he afford to allow the cross-state emission rules to go into effect before the election and allow the nation’s voters to read one headline after another as energy plants in the Southwest go offline, lay off their workers, and jack up energy prices to consumers in the middle of the winter?

There may still be a Christmas present in the offing, here. And it could be in the form of Obama retreating and pulling the plug on this before New Years.