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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Senate Defeats 56-41 Rand Paul's Attack On EPA Air Rules

Senate Defeats 56-41 Rand Paul's Attack On EPA Air Rules

Six Republicans joined most Democratic Senators a couple hours ago to defeat 56-41 Senator Paul's bill that would have effectively killed the EPA's Air rules that are requiring more coal plants to install pollution controls, fuel switch often to gas, or close.

The vote was more about politics than legislating, since the Obama Administration had said it would veto the bill were it to pass Congress.

The politics also involved some blowback on Senator Paul, as he lost Republican Senators Kirk, Ayotte, Brown, Alexander, Collins, and Snowe. Earlier this year Senator Alexander revealed that he would leave the Republican leadership of the Senate so that he could vote more independently and not be controlled by partisan commands. This vote shows he meant what he said.

The EPA Air rules benefit natural gas plants, nuclear facilities, all renewable power and the 60% of coal plants that have installed the required pollution controls. Nearly all the plants that do not meet the rules were built before 1970, burn coal inefficiently, and are relatively small. The EPA estimates that the rules will prevent up to 34,000 premature deaths per year.

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