Senate votes to block EPA’s CPP, Obama announces intent to veto

By Erin Voegele | November 18, 2015

On Nov. 17, the U.S. Senate voted in favor of two resolutions that aim to block the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan. While the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to address its versions of the resolutions soon, President Obama has already announced he will veto the measures.

The Senate voted 52-46 to pass each resolution. S.J. Res. 23 disapproves the EPA’s Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from New, Modified, and Reconstructed Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units, for which a final rule was issued in October. S.J. Res. 24 provides congressional disapproval for the EPA’s Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Generating Units. That rule was also finalized in October.

The White House has published a statement on administration policy that indicates President Obama will veto S.J. Res. 24 if he is presented with the bill.

According to the White House, nullifying the CCP would block progress towards cleaner energy, eliminating public health and other benefits. The statement also stresses the resolution would impede efforts to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants during a time when the U.S. needs to act quickly to mitigate climate change impacts.

While Congressional efforts to overturn the CCP plan continue, the EPA is continuing its efforts to implement the rules. Earlier this week, EPA Acting Assistant Administrator Janet McCabe published a blog that addresses the potential role of biomass in the CCP. According to McCabe, the agency plans to hold a workshop on the topic early next year. 

Bob Cleaves, president of the Biomass Power Association, has weighed in on the issue.
“The Clean Power Plan is basically the first comprehensive U.S. energy policy that will promote the use of renewables, including biomass,” he said. “There are still some questions about how the plan will be implemented, but we support the regulation and its acknowledgement of the role of biomass and other renewables in the nation's energy portfolio.”