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Alaska's senators back measure to cancel EPA climate plan

  • Author: Erica Martinson
  • Updated: May 31, 2016
  • Published November 17, 2015

WASHINGTON -- Alaska's U.S. senators joined 50 others Tuesday to pass a measure aimed at blocking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's climate change regulations for power plants.

The votes against regulations for new and future power plants came just weeks before President Barack Obama heads to Paris to negotiate an international deal intended to counter climate change.

Obama has pledged to veto the efforts, arguing the so-called "Clean Power Plan" is legal, cost-effective, flexible and necessary to reduce greenhouse gas pollution. The plan would restrict greenhouse gas emissions from power plants across the country.

Despite Obama's veto threat, the House is expected to pass a similar set of resolutions in the coming weeks.

Sen. Dan Sullivan said the EPA's Clean Power Plan is "kind of a national tax."

"When you have a policy that's put forward by an administration ... that looks like it's going to significantly increase the cost of energy for middle-class Americans, that's kind of on substance something I'm going to have significant issue with," Sullivan said before the vote Tuesday.

He said the agency is working around the will of Congress, which he called "the definition of federal overreach."

Sen. Lisa Murkowski agreed, saying the rules represent "a level of overreach that I don't believe is acceptable."

Alaska has been initially exempted from the rule, but "just because it doesn't impact Alaska now doesn't mean it won't impact us later," Murkowski said. "And just because it doesn't impact Alaska doesn't mean it won't impact negatively other parts of the nation and the economy."

The vote Tuesday included three Republicans who were opposed to the measure, and three Democrats who voted in favor.

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