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Environment

Bill Would Let States Opt Out Of CO2 Cuts

by Steven K. Gibb
May 4, 2015 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 93, ISSUE 18

States could duck upcoming EPA regulation of carbon dioxide emissions from power plants under a bill the House Energy & Commerce Committee adopted last week. The measure, H.R. 2042, would put EPA’s rule for curbing CO2 from existing power plants on hold until federal courts have finished a review of EPA’s authority to address climate change under the Clean Air Act. “We’re not repealing the regulation,” says Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), the bill’s sponsor. “Let’s let the courts render a decision.” The legislation would allow governors to opt out of the EPA rule, expected to be out in July, if they determine the regulation would threaten electricity reliability or have “adverse effects” on ratepayers. Governors would be required to consult with state regulators, environmental agencies, and others in making the determination. Democrats are strongly opposed to the bill. “This is a thinly veiled excuse to do nothing about climate change,” says Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.). The committee passed the measure 28–23, clearing the way for the full House to vote on, and likely pass, the bill.

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