Vulnerable Democrats from energy-producing states are unhappy with a move by President Obama to seal a climate change pact with world leaders.
Sen. Mary Landrieu, chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is warning the president against agreeing to any climate pact that would “negotiate away” the nation’s growing energy sector.
And Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., pledged to work with Congress "to do everything we can" to stop executive branch moves that hurt the coal industry.
"It is important that all nations do what they can to reduce carbon in the atmosphere,” Landrieu said in a statement. “But the president should not take any action that undermines the American Energy Revolution currently underway that is creating thousands of high-paying jobs for middle-class families in Louisiana and across the country.
"Greater use of our abundant natural gas resources and improved efficiency standards have already driven U.S. carbon emissions to their lowest levels in 20 years. Given the current turmoil in Iraq, Ukraine and across the world, America’s role as an energy superpower is too important to negotiate away."
Rahall is in a tossup race for re-election and has worked to distance himself from Obama, whose regulatory moves to curb climate change have killed coal jobs.
"It is fruitless for this Administration, or any Administration, to negotiate agreements with the rest of the world when it cannot even muster the support of the American people," Rahall said in a scathing reaction statement. "This Administration’s go it alone strategy is surely less about dysfunction in Congress than about the President’s own unwillingness to listen to our coal miners, steelworkers, farmers, and working families.
"Whether it’s the regulatory overreaches that would shut coal out of our energy mix, or this latest end-run around Congress on climate change, these actions cannot stand, and I will work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to do everything we can to stop them.”
Obama is in talks to cement a non-binding deal that aims to reduce carbon emissions worldwide. The pact would not require Senate ratification, according to reports, but the State Department said it was "premature" to say whether the deal would require approval from the upper chamber.
Few Democrats have chimed in on president’s plan so far. Representatives for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., have not responded to a request for a comment on the climate talks.