The Wall Street Journal | 18 January 2017
Barrasso Declines to Elaborate on GOP Plans for Obama’s Climate Rules
After years of lambasting President Barack Obama’s climate agenda, an effort to repeal his legacy on the matter was not named a top priority for the new Republican chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Sen. John Barrasso (R., Wyo.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, at the 11 January 2017 hearing considering the nomination of Rex Tillerson to be secretary of state. Credit: Zuma Press.
“I’ll work with the administration on that,” Sen. John Barrasso (R., Wyo.), chairman of the panel, said in response to a reporter’s question on 17 January about whether he will prioritize climate policy on the committee. “We want to make energy as clean as we can as fast as we can in ways that don’t raise the costs.”
Barrasso declined to elaborate more on to what extent, if at all, he will focus on climate change policy in legislation or hearings over the next 2 years. He instead listed other issues, such as repealing a water rule and overhauling endangered species laws, as top priorities.
That reluctance is striking because congressional Republicans have spent a good deal of time since 2010 holding press conferences and hearings criticizing Obama’s climate regulations, in particular an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule cutting carbon emissions from power plants. President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to repeal EPA’s carbon rule, but he hasn’t said how or when.
Since the election, lobbyists working for and against fossil-fuel interests have tried to determine how far Republicans will go to dismantle Obama’s climate rules. GOP leaders could take such steps as prohibiting the EPA from regulating carbon emissions or reviewing a scientific finding the EPA issued in 2009 that legally underpins the outgoing administration’s entire climate agenda.
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