House Republicans are once again trying to prevent the Obama administration from regulating greenhouse-gas emissions, releasing a 2012 spending bill Wednesday that suspends carbon dioxide standards and pushes several other energy-related policy goals that Republicans have been pursuing.
In addition to suspending greenhouse-gas rules, the Republicans' bill also blocks the Obama administration from updating a controversial coal-mining rule, known as the stream protection rule, and sets parameters on the approval of clean-air permits for offshore oil drilling.
The Republicans' bill also prevents the Obama administration from regulating ash from coal-fired power plants as a hazardous waste.
By attempting to push these so-called policy riders in an appropriations bill--which is considered a piece of legislation that has to pass through Congress--Republicans are setting up a showdown with the Senate. The Democrats who control that chamber have largely opposed Republicans' previous efforts to hamstring the Obama administration on greenhouse-gas emissions, coal ash, offshore drilling and other energy issues.
The policy riders adopted by the House Republicans are included in 2012 spending proposals for the U.S. Interior Department and Environmental Protection Agency.
One provision in that bill imposes a one-year suspension on greenhouse-gas rules for stationary sources.
Republicans have previously attempted to influence most, if not all, of these rules and policies. They have passed numerous bills to achieve their policy goals and held multiple hearings on the issues.
In April, for example, the House passed a bill that prevents the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases to address climate change and excludes greenhouse gases as an "air pollutant" under the Clean Air Act.
House Republicans also propose cuts to appropriations for the EPA and Interior Department in their 2012 spending bill. Specifically, they set aside $7.1 billion for the EPA, which is 18% below the 2011 level, according to the House Appropriations Committee. And they provide $9.9 billion for the Interior Department, which is 7% below current levels.