House Republicans proposed cutting the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by a third and denying funds for a key part of President Barack Obama’s plan to combat global warming.
The House Appropriations committee’s panel that oversees the EPA will consider cutting $2.8 billion from the agency’s 2014 budget, and prohibit the administration from spending on greenhouse-gas rules for power plants, the centerpiece of Obama’s climate plan. The budget for the year starting Oct. 1, which will get a vote tomorrow in the subcommittee, also would bar the EPA from imposing new curbs on sulfur in gasoline and on the use of water by power plants.
“By holding back overly zealous and unnecessary environmental regulations, this bill can have a positive effect on our economy and will help encourage job growth,” Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, a Kentucky Republican, said today in a statement.
House Republicans are seeking to limit the president’s efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, which scientists say are causing global warming. While the measures with the restrictions have little chance of being adopted in the Democratic-led Senate, they underscore efforts administration critics are considering to head off or slow the EPA’s regulation.
As part of Obama’s plan outlined June 25, the EPA would issue the first limits on carbon emissions from all U.S. power plants, a move that has been fought by lobbyists for Southern Co. (SO:US) and Peabody Energy Corp. (BTU:US)
By focusing on power plants, Obama is confronting one of the largest contributors to greenhouse-gas emissions. Forty percent of U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions, and one-third of all greenhouse gases, come from electric power plants, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Republicans say the rules will raise the cost of electricity, endangering the U.S. economy and pushing coal producers out of business. In the Senate, Wyoming Republican John Barrasso introduced legislation last week, unrelated to the budget, that would prevent the EPA from issuing greenhouse-gas regulations. He vowed to use every opportunity to attach his measure as an amendment to other legislation.
The House Appropriations subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies is scheduled to consider and vote on the budget at 10 a.m. tomorrow. The plan would cut spending by 30 percent for the EPA administrator’s office and 50 percent for the office that works with Congress.
In addition to the EPA, the legislation included funding for the Interior Department, U.S. Forest Service, the Smithsonian Institution and the U.S. Geological Survey. The USGS budget would drop 9 percent by reducing its climate-change and administrative accounts, according to a committee statement.
The measure would increase the operating accounts for the National Park Service so that each park will remain open and operational next year.
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