Senate rejects measure to stop EPA emissions regulation
The EPA's rules to fight emissions remain one of Obama's key strategies to reduce dependence on fossil fuels coal, oil and natural gas.
Wed, Apr 06, 2011 at 06:39 PM
VOTED DOWN: In a vote that came as blow to Republicans, senators rejected the measure sponsored by Republican Leader Mitch McConnell by a tally of 50 to 50, short of the 60 votes needed to pass. (Photo: ZUMA Press)
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Senate rejected a measure on Wednesday to permanently stop the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions blamed for warming the planet.
The EPA's rules to fight emissions remain one of President Barack Obama's key strategies to reduce dependence on fossil fuels coal, oil, and natural gas and generate more domestic alternative energy.
In a vote that came as blow to Republicans who had hoped to pick up more support from Democrats facing tight elections next year, senators rejected the measure sponsored by Republican Leader Mitch McConnell by a tally of 50 to 50, short of the 60 votes needed to pass.
The Senate also rejected three other amendments sponsored by Democrats that would have limited the EPA, including one by Jay Rockefeller, from coal-rich West Virginia, which would have postponed the agency from regulating the gases for two years.
Republicans and some Democrats who had wanted to stop the EPA said the rules on emissions from big polluters like oil refineries and power plants would hurt businesses as they struggle to recover from the economic downturn.
Supporters of the EPA said killing the rules would lead to health problems and maintain U.S. dependence on fuel imports.
"If we don't take action, it's going to mean higher health care costs, destroyed coastlines and a continued dependence on foreign oil," Senator Tom Carper, a Democrat from Delaware, said during the debate on the measures.
"That's not a recipe for economic success."
The EPA began rolling out regulations on polluters in January after the Senate failed to pass a comprehensive bill on climate and energy last year.
Later this year, the EPA is expected to propose emissions limits on oil refineries and power plants that it expects to finalize next year.
Analysts said congressional efforts to stop the EPA could come up later this year, perhaps during debates over next year's budget.
The House of Representatives was also slated to vote on a bill on Wednesday that would permanently stop the EPA from regulating the gases.
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner and Richard Cowan; Editing by Eric Walsh)
Copyright 2011 Reuters US Online Report Politics News