Senate Republicans have moved forward with a major overhaul of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, but they have a long way to go before they can pass a bill.
The White House announced Thursday that it is supporting the measure in its final form.
The House passed a version of the bill in May, but it didn’t make it out of committee and was sent back to the Senate.
The Senate’s version is much more comprehensive.
The final bill would roll back key elements of the Clean Power Act, including the Clean Water Rule, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Energy and Security Act.
The Senate’s bill is much less comprehensive, however, and it would leave the EPA with far fewer rules and protections for the nation’s air and water.
The bill would also repeal a number of Obama administration regulations that have resulted in the largest reductions in CO2 emissions in more than a decade.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters Thursday that the House’s version of a bill is more “conservative” and would provide for greater flexibility for the states.
But McCarthy said it still doesn’t provide for full repeal of the rules, including limits on methane emissions.
That could be problematic for the coal industry, which is concerned about the proposal.
“We have not even started the process of actually writing the bill that the Senate is looking at.
But, as the leader of the House, I will make every effort to have the House come up with a plan for repeal,” he said.
President Donald Trump, a staunch critic of the EPA, is expected to sign the House bill as early as this week.
But the House is also facing pressure from Democrats and some environmental groups to vote down the bill, and McCarthy and his Republican colleagues say the legislation is important for the country’s future.
McCarthy has been working to get the bill out of the Senate after months of delays.
He has been making his case that the bill is the right thing for the American people.
He said in May that the president had told him that he wants the bill to be passed by the end of the year.
He also told reporters that the legislation would protect the environment, especially the coal miners.
Democrats have called on the Trump administration to veto the bill.
A coalition of 30 environmental groups including the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council have urged the Trump White House to delay a vote on the bill until after the next presidential election.
Republicans also face pressure from environmental groups and the coal mining industry to support the legislation.
In addition to the CO2 rule and methane limits, the Senate bill would increase funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and require the EPA to publish an analysis on how the agency is responding to climate change.
The legislation would also protect federal lands and waters from development and prohibit federal agencies from issuing new coal leases without approval from the U.S. Department of Interior.
The House bill would allow coal mining companies to extract and mine coal on federal lands for a decade, but only if they pay royalties of at least $1.5 billion.
The measure would also allow mining companies with more than 500 employees to lease up to 10 percent of a public land area.