POLITICS: PennAve

Republicans attack Democrats on EPA proposal with legislation

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House of Representatives,Harry Reid,Mitch McConnell,Climate Change,EPA,PennAve,Sean Lengell,Energy and Environment,NRSC,Power Plants,Mark Udall

Republicans wasted no time putting their outrage over the Obama administration's new regulations cutting power-plant carbon emissions to use, proposing legislation aimed at pushing back at the measure.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday introduced his "Coal Country Protection Act" that would require several benchmarks to be met before the rules could take effect, including:

• Requiring the Labor Department to guarantee the rules wouldn't cause a loss of jobs.

• Calling on the Congressional Budget Office to ensure the rules wouldn't result in any loss in U.S. gross domestic product.

• Requiring the Energy Information Administration to certify the rules wouldn't increase electricity rates.

• Asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation to certify that electricity delivery would remain reliable if the rules were enacted.

"It's just common sense," said McConnell, whose home state of Kentucky is heavily dependent on the coal industry. "I'm going to keep vigorously fighting against the Obama administration's continued war on coal jobs and this extreme, anti-middle class national energy tax in particular."

The bill faces little chance of survival, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., isn't likely to bring it to the floor for a vote. But a Reid block of the measure would provide Republicans with ammunition to portray Democrats as being beholden to the administration's "radical" energy policy.

"If the majority leader and Senate Democrats stand in the way of passing this bill, Kentuckians and the American people will remember who stood with them and who worked against them," McConnell said. "And I imagine [voters would] want to send a majority to Washington that would actually work for the middle class for a change."

The EPA's draft proposal, introduced Monday, aims to reduce carbon emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030. The regulations aren't expected to become final until at least 2015.

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