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US House backs bill to block EPA power plant rule

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) -

The Republican-controlled House has moved to block the president's plan to limit carbon pollution from new power plants.

It's an election-year strike at the White House. The House approved a bill Thursday targeting the power plant rule, as Republicans fight back against what they call the Obama administration's "war on coal."

But Republicans were not the only ones voting for the bill. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., also cast a vote for it.

"Those of us from the coal-producing regions of this country have become sick and tired of this EPA churning out anti-coal regulations, while showing little or no appreciation for how those regulations will affect the lives and livelihoods of the real people who have to live and work under them," Rahall said in a statement issued after the vote.

"We have been frustrated as the EPA has used slanted science and inflated claims about the benefits of their regulatory agenda. We have to question whether this EPA is actually using good, sound science, or if it is picking and choosing science that sounds good to meet whatever ends the agency desires."

President Barack Obama's proposal is a key part of his plan to fight climate change. It would set the first national limits on heat-trapping pollution from future power plants.

The House bill was approved 229-183. It would require the Environmental Protection Agency to set carbon emissions standards based on technology in use for at least a year.

Republicans and some coal-state Democrats say the EPA rule is based on carbon-capturing technology that does not currently exist.

The White House has threatened a veto.

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., denounced the measure as "a science-denial bill" that would strip the EPA of its ability to block carbon pollution. Waxman and other Democrats said the bill was a blatant attempt to thwart the EPA and cast the Obama administration as a job killer during an election year.

The White House has said the measure would "undermine public health protections of the Clean Air Act and stop U.S. progress in cutting dangerous carbon pollution from power plants."

The fate of a companion measure in the Senate sponsored by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is less certain.

Manchin said his bill would ensure that pollution standards imposed by the EPA are realistic, calling the current proposal "unattainable under today's technology." 

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