WASHINGTON, D.C. - Republicans in the Congress plan to introduce a bill on Thursday that would permanently stop the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating emissions blamed for warming the planet, a senior Congressional aide said on Wednesday.
Representative Fred Upton, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Senator James Inhofe, a climate skeptic who is writing a book on global warming called "The Hoax," will introduce the bill late Thursday, the aide said.
President Barack Obama would veto a bill that permanently blocks the agency on climate, administration officials have said. Obama has pledged to the world the United States will cut greenhouse gases to about 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.
Three Democrats in the House, Collin Peterson, Nick Rahall and Dan Boren, have expressed support for the bill. Republicans hope to have at least one Democrat from the Senate on board when they introduce the bill.
The bill, a draft copy of which Upton and Inhofe released earlier this month, will likely be voted on first in the Republican-controlled House. If it passes, Republicans hope it will gain momentum in the Senate and pick up Democrats from industrial states who face tough elections next year.
Some Democrats may find it hard to vote against a bill that aims to stop regulations some businesses say will shut factories and hurt jobs.
Many big power companies, such as New Jersey-based NRG Energy Inc, however, have said they want the EPA to continue regulating as it would give them more certainty in investing in future power plants.
Senator Joe Manchin from coal-rich West Virginia, who ran a campaign ad last year in which he shot a copy of a climate bill with a rifle, is one Democrat who Republicans hope will support the bill.
Nearly all Senate Republicans are expected to support Inhofe's bill.
Analysts have said the legislation could face a tough battle because a permanent blockage of EPA regulations is too harsh in scope to get the 60 votes needed to pass in the Senate.
A bill pushed by Senator Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, which would delay EPA from taking action for two years, has a better chance of passing, analysts have said.
The EPA in January began requiring big industries to hold permits for emitting greenhouse gases, the first step in regulating the pollution. The agency plans to propose performance standards on power plants in July and oil refiners in December that would limit their emissions.
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner)