Can the GOP stop the EPA's new "Clean Power Plan" this time?

Once more into the breach on the EPA.

No, for once we’re not talking about them flooding rivers with toxic waste or grossly mismanaging their budget or the fact that nobody there can be fired no matter what they do. This time we’re actually returning to the regular order of business which they are allegedly supposed to be conducting. That would be the overseeing of regulations to protect the environment. Of course, they’re no less political when it comes to that, nor are they any better at it, but at least it’s something which should be in their lane.

Most recently they moved to put Barack Obama’s new Clean Power Plan into effect. This disastrous collection of rules has been dissected here more times than I can count, so there’s no need to go into it all again. We already know that more than a dozen states are refusing to go along until the courts weigh in, but congressional Republicans are looking to eliminate the need for those efforts by sunsetting the ill conceived plan before it ever gets off the ground. (The Hill)

Lawmakers opposed to the Obama administration’s climate rule for power plants are moving to block the regulations from taking effect.

Several senators will offer Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolutions Monday that seek to stop the Clean Power Plan. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a longtime opponent of carbon regulations for the power sector, will schedule a vote on the resolutions soon after they come out.

“I have vowed to do all I can to fight back against this administration on behalf of the thousands of Kentucky coal miners and their families, and this CRA is another tool in that battle,” McConnell said in a statement.

Under the auspices of the Congressional Review Act of 1996, Congress has the ability to review “major rules” (see the link for the definition, but this one definitely applies) and disapprove them, leaving them essentially void, having no power or effect. Giving Congress this power was a good idea at the time, but without one party or the other having a supermajority in Congress it’s limited in real world impact. If the same party holds both the majority in the House and Senate as well as the White House, it’s unlikely that the majority party will challenge their president on new rules. When the balance of power is split, as it is now, Congress has to be able to override a veto to nix the new rule.

The House already approved one such proposal earlier this year and Congressman Ed Whitfield, (R-Ky.) led it off yesterday. A Senate committee voted on it in August and Mitch McConnell is bringing it forward again this week. Unfortunately, Barack Obama has already promised to quickly veto the measure if it reaches his desk. Given the current partisan climate it’s nearly impossible that something like this will attract enough support from Democrats for an override during election season.

Assuming that’s how it plays out we’ll be back to the protests from the affected states and the long waiting game for the courts to sort it out. In the meantime, put aside a little extra money for your heating bills this winter because this one is going to cost you.

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