Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has introduced a bill to block the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing new carbon emissions standards for power plants.
The bill is called the “Saving Coal Jobs Act of 2013.” Some of the bill is an echo of already-introduced legislation that gives the EPA strict deadlines for permitting coal mines. But the second part is new: it blocks the head of any federal agency from regulating carbon dioxide from power plants, unless it’s explicitly authorized by Congress.
Such regulations are already in the works. In June, President Obama laid out an agenda to address the growing problem of climate change. But the EPA has been under a mandate to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants for years, ever since the gas was found to be a danger to human health.
The agency could issue the standards for new power plants as soon as this week. Those are still confidential, but it’s likely the standards will be tight enough to block new coal-fired power plants, unless they include advanced—and expensive—technology. Eventually the agency also plans to issue standards for existing power plants.