How to win the climate battle: GOP leaders | The Hill’s energy and environment reporter

On Thursday, House Republicans will vote on a bill to repeal the Obama-era Clean Power Plan.

It would strip federal power from states and the EPA to limit carbon emissions.

That would be a big blow to the EPA and its ability to enforce the rules.

But the bill, which was unveiled this week by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), would also repeal a program that gives states and localities money to buy power from the coal industry.

So while the Clean Power plan was an important part of President Donald Trump’s climate agenda, the GOP lawmakers who crafted the plan have been quick to attack it.

“The Clean Power Act was a disastrous and unnecessary piece of legislation,” Rep. Pete Sessions (R) said in a statement, arguing that the EPA was “unprepared to enforce its legal mandates.”

Rep. Joe Barton (R)-Texas also slammed the bill as “a terrible bill” that would “let states and cities and rural areas be left to pick up the pieces.”

Sen. Jeff Sessions ( R-Ala.), who is a former Republican governor of Alabama, also questioned the efficacy of the plan, saying that the law has failed “to curb carbon emissions and create jobs.”

Senators James Lankford (R), Mike Rounds (R.), Bill Cassidy (R)—who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee—and Rob Portman (R–Ohio)—who is running for the Republican nomination for governor—also denounced the legislation as “outrageous.”

Sen., John Barrasso (R—Wyo.), also ripped the Clean Powers Plan, telling reporters Thursday that he has “serious concerns” about the EPA’s power grabs.

But his remarks came a day after he and his Republican colleagues voted to kill the EPA Clean Power Rule, which would have required states to reduce emissions by 25 percent by 2025.

That’s because the rule would have helped protect the state’s electric grid, which could be hit with higher electricity prices if the industry continues to ramp up emissions.

“I don’t want to see the Clean Water Rule weakened, I don’t think that we want to do the Clean Air Rule weakened,” Barrasso said.

“But I do want to make sure we have a strong regulatory framework that allows us to take action to address climate change.”

The Senate’s vote to kill Barrasso’s Clean Water rule is a significant blow to President Trump’s efforts to put a moratorium on federal regulation of the energy sector.

Trump has been touting the Clean Waters Act, which allows the EPA the power to regulate pollution from power plants.

But Republicans, including many in the House, have criticized the law as too vague and too restrictive.

Barrasso and his colleagues have vowed to continue pushing for the Clean Rules Act.

“If we can’t protect the air we breathe, we will never be able to protect the planet,” Barrace said.

And in a tweet on Thursday, Barrasso added, “The Senate has passed the #CleanPowerRule, the most important legislation to reduce carbon pollution from our power plants since 1986.”