Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 30, 2015

McConnell Plots Coal Amendment to Energy Spending Bill

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is planning an amendment to an upcoming spending bill that could put the brakes on the EPA’s plans to implement new regulations on carbon emissions from existing power plants.

While it is unusual for the Kentucky Republican to appear at an Appropriations Committee gathering in person, he has maintained his seat and influence on the panel.

“I’m going to continue to fight. Kentuckians deserve no less. 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,” McConnell said in a statement.

According to a senior GOP aide, the McConnell amendment would require certification that neither electricity prices would go up, nor jobs be eliminated, as a result of implementing new rules on existing power plants. Without such a certification, the rules would not be able to move forward. The Environmental Protection Agency outlined its plans on June 2, and McConnell has been pledging to use any tools at his disposal to stop the action.

Tuesday morning’s subcommittee markup of the 2015 Energy-Water appropriations bill is scheduled to be followed by full committee markup on Thursday, at which point amendments are often offered.

The McConnell proposal is one of several Republican amendments that could prove problematic for Democrats if the markup moves forward, since the Democratic membership includes senators like Mark Begich of Alaska, Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas. All three members are running for re-election in 2014 and have had serious concerns about the Obama administration’s policies on energy and environment issues.

With 30 senators on the Appropriations panel and a 16-14 split between the parties, it could take as few as two Democrats to get the McConnell amendment adopted, meaning Democrats might have a tough choice to make before Thursday morning.

“Opposing this bill, or blocking its consideration, means you must believe that the President’’s rules will cause job loss, or utility rate hikes, or brownouts,” said McConnell. “The President’s regulations will increase electricity prices and create job loss. Opponents of this bill would be supporting job loss in Kentucky, our economy being hurt, and seniors’ energy bills spiking – for almost zero meaningful global carbon reduction. So the Majority Leader and his Democrat colleagues need to listen.”

  • voltaic

    Funny stuff from the jowled one. Coal is dirty and harmful to health, but sine GOP gets its campaign money from dirty coal, they could care less about American’s health and wellbeing.

    Thousands die each year due to coal plants and their air pollution, but the GOP cares little about those deaths.

    The American Lung Association (ALA) recently released a new report on the dramatic health hazards surrounding coal-fired power plants.

    The report, “Toxic Air: The Case For Cleaning Up Coal-Fired Power Plants,” reveals the dangers of air pollution emitted by coal plants.

    One of the starkest findings in the report claims, “Particle pollution from power plants is estimated to kill approximately 13,000 people a year.”

    In fact, there is little to no determination that clean air and water leads to job loss.

    while there is relatively little scholarship on the issue, the evidence so far is that the overall effect on jobs is minimal. Regulations do destroy some jobs, but they also create others. Mostly, they just shift jobs within the economy.

    GOP is full speed ahead to destroy the health of Americans and have no other ideas on how to create jobs, but to make people die of needless power plant contamination.

    Clean air and clean water are good for job creation, not bad, unless you are a morgue worker and then you will prefer the GOP methods of job creation.

    • Arizona Don

      You are certainly entitled to your opinion. You are not entitled to report your opinion as facts. Furthermore, estimates are not facts. They are estimates or opinions. The fact is coal is over 90% cleaner now in the United States then it was just 50 years ago. The fact is at one time it was a problem much more serious then you even state here however, American ingenuity has made it not only safe but actually desirable in some industries. Furthermore, the research is still on going and will continue to clean it up. Presently the atmosphere contains eight ten thousands of one percent CO2. An insignificant amount even if doubled or tripled. Most of the problems associated with adverse air conditions is directly contributed to temp inversions and water vapors in the air. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated CO2 does not add to any global warming that is a hoax. v=4LkMweOVOOI&feature=player_embedded

      • Wuthie

        Like you say, “You are not entitled to report your opinion as facts.”

        Even if your so call 90% “fact” was a fact, burning something dirty is still burning something dirty. Even if it is cleaner than it use to be. And what is done with the left over ash? More dirt.

        CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Any scientist worth their salt will tell you that. Reports from looking at co2 in ice has showed that during the coldest years the co2 ppm was 180. During the warmest years it was 280 ppm. It is presently 380 ppm.

        The other problem is that we are burning and destroying the one thing that consumes CO2… plant life. We are destroying our forests and polluting our oceans killing off the plankton that uses CO2.

        The reason coal is desirable in some industries is because it is cheap, not because it is clean.

        • Arizona Don

          Watch the video then reply when you have more information

  • Thomas Barnes

    Explain this remark, “seniors’ energy bills spiking”!?? Why would this only effect the price “seniors” would be paying for energy? Have folks stop paying attention?!!!

  • Mark Potochnik

    It’s the economics. Solar is getting cheaper than coal. Next big advancement in solar will be the killer.
    Mining, processing, transport and getting rid of coal ash are costs that can not go down.
    Pro Life Republicans not caring about life. ALL TALK!

  • kyrunner

    NOTICE to all Americans. All of your electric bills will go UP drastically if this Marxist run agency gets its way on this regulation.

  • Asteroid Miner

    Renewables have no hope of stopping coal.

    If we don’t act immediately and take draconian action, we humans could be extinct by 2060. This is not a joke.

    Please read:

    “Drought Under Global Warming: a Review” by Aiguo Dai

    This was made with data on the extent of deserts from 1870 to present. The usual General Circulation [computer] Models [GCMs] were not used. Since the sensitivity was not used, the sensitivity is irrelevant. Civilization still collapses near or shortly after mid-century this century.

    See the maps of drought in the 2060s on page 15.

    “Preliminary Analysis of a Global Drought Time Series” by Barton Paul Levenson, not yet published. Under BAU [Business As Usual], agriculture and civilization will collapse some time between 2050 and 2055 due to drought/desertification caused by GW [Global Warming].

    Reference: “The Long Summer” by Brian Fagan and “Collapse” by Jared Diamond. When agriculture collapses, civilization collapses. Fagan and Diamond told the stories of something like 2 dozen previous very small civilizations. Most of the collapses were caused by fraction of a degree climate changes. In some cases, all of that group died. On the average, 1 out of 10,000 survived. We humans could go EXTINCT in the 2050s. The 1 out of 10,000 survived because he wandered in the direction of food. If the collapse is global, there is no right direction.

    We must take extreme action now. Cut CO2 production 40% by the end of 2019. [How to do this: Replace all coal fired power plants with factory built nuclear. Renewables do not work except for niche markets.] Continuing to make CO2 is the greatest imaginable GENOCIDE. We have to act NOW. Acting in 2049 will not work. Nature just doesn’t work that way. All fossil fuel fired power plants must be shut down and replaced with nuclear. With factory built nuclear power plants, we can still get it done by the end of 2019.

  • Asteroid Miner

    Coal contains: URANIUM and all of the decay products of uranium, ARSENIC, LEAD, MERCURY, Antimony, Cobalt, Nickel, Copper, Selenium, Barium, Fluorine, Silver, Beryllium, Iron, Sulfur, Boron, Titanium, Cadmium, Magnesium, Thorium, Calcium, Manganese, Vanadium, Chlorine, Aluminum, Chromium, Molybdenum and Zinc. We chould get all the uranium we need to fuel nuclear power plants for centuries by using coal cinders and ash as ore.


    • zipidachimp

      coal is a veritable treasure-trove of minerals! dig, baby, dig!

  • Jack Everett

    McConnell will waste more taxpayer money on this fascist project.

  • EUC

    Extend the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program! watch and share this video to give close to 4 Million long term Americans a voice:

    Unemployment Extension 2014 from UnemploymentExtension on Vimeo.

  • missieb2000

    and basing your opinion on junk “science” is somehow better? Global warming/cooling/”climate change” is as real as professional wrestling

  • kimhil

    We have been remade into a nation that bases it’s opinions on one sided propaganda. Why are we basing our opinions on personal interests? Both democrats, and republicans have views worth listening to.
    How much damage is caused by coal, and how much good – seems that the people experiencing the claimed damage should make the decision whether coal is better, or not for them. Back to the local issue, no change will be taken by the federal politicians that does not benefit them, based on past performance.
    If you want positive change, find local issues, know what your position is, and contact local reps to see what can be done – federally it seems nothing can be done.
    many great resources – opencongress dot org; abigailadamsproject dot com; anystreet dot org; leadershipinstitue dot org are just a few.

  • richcreamerybutter

    “I’m going to keep vigorously fighting against the Obama Administration’s continued War on Coal Jobs”

    He’s such a drama queen!

  • Arizona Don

    I certainly do not deny climate change and neither does the video if you would watch it and get some information from the experts you would know as well. However, you have like all other liberal progressives allowed politics to blind you as to what the truth really is. I am saying THERE IS CLIMATE CHANGE and has been for thousands of years before man even was here. But here again your afraid to look at the facts. It is the cause of the climate change I dispute and so do the experts. Furthermore, your 95% figure must be something you have dreamed up because it does positively not exist. Get informed so you don’t appear so stupid!

  • John Kenner

    Those who seize the opportunities afforded by liberty also have a moral obligation to address directly resulting negative consequences.

  • Peter Gardiner

    Hello. These rules do not ban the use of coal as a source of power, only that it be used under carefully controlled conditions that limit the well-recognized adverse environmental impacts. And keep in mind when you talk about costs, please include the added health costs to the people caused by dirty coal. If we take account of these, then the net impact of these regulations will be a significant reduction in the overall cost to society.

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  • Evergreen Fields

    While free countries enable even their poorest citizens to enjoy annual incomes three times greater than those of the rest of the world, envy remains one of the most dangerous of the anti-social passions infecting the West.

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