- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 23, 2015

President Obama on Tuesday night threatened to veto legislation that would slow — and potentially stop — the administration’s controversial plan to limit carbon emissions from existing power plants.

The House will consider the bill, known as the Ratepayer Protection Act, on Wednesday. It would halt the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan until all legal challenges have been settled, and also would allow individual states to opt of the pollution-reduction measure.

Proponents of the measure say it’s necessary to both keep electricity rates low and to keep states from wasting time figuring out how to comply with regulations that ultimately may be struck down in court.

But the administration vowed that the House bill never will become law.

“The bill would give governors unprecedented and broad discretion to avoid compliance with the [Clean Air Act], thereby delaying the delivery of important public health benefits. The bill’s effects would be felt hardest by those most at risk from the impacts of air pollution and climate change, such as the elderly, the infirm, children, native and tribal groups, and low-income populations,” the White House said in a statement of administration policy.

“In addition, the bill is premature and unnecessary. It is premature because the Clean Power Plan has not yet been finalized; it is unnecessary because EPA has made clear its commitment to address concerns … when issuing the final Clean Power Plan this summer,” the administration said.

The final version of the rule is expected out in August.

Energy companies and a coalition of states already have sued over the rule, but a federal appeals court earlier this month tossed the lawsuit and said it was premature because the final regulations have yet to be issued. Opponents have promised to file new lawsuits once the final plan is released.

Ahead of Wednesday’s vote, supporters of the House bill are pointing to federal data that show the EPA’s plan would drive up electricity rates.

“My bill seeks to keep electricity affordable for everyone,” Rep. Ed Whitfield, Kentucky Republican and prime sponsor of the bill, tweeted Tuesday.

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