The U.S. Senate has rejected a Republican proposal to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. This has given President Obama’s clean energy goals a boost.
Republicans were able to block a climate and energy bill last year, and were hoping to swing some votes from Democrats to carry this proposal. They only got 50 of the 60 votes needed from the 100 votes available.
The White House has maintained that blocking the EPA would mean increasing US dependence on oil, going against the scientific consensus on climate change, and slowing America’s attempts to become a world leader in clean energy development.
Obama has internationally pledged that the US will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent under 2005 levels by 2020.
It is likely that this will not be the end to the fight over the EPA’s efforts to curb emissions, before the U.S. elections in 2012. It is expected that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives will pass a bill to stop the EPA’s efforts, but this would lack power without Senate approval.
The EPA is expected to propose limits on coal-fired power plants and oil refineries later in the year.
Image CC licensed by Paul J Everett