Washington Week Ahead: Focus on combating Climate Change

By Daniel Enoch

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WASHINGTON, June 2, 2014 - The Obama administration on Monday will unveil its long-awaited plan to cut carbon pollution from the nation's coal-fired power plants, setting off what's expected to be a wave of legal challenges and legislative counterattacks.

The EPA's draft proposal will call for cutting carbon emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The move is considered the government's strongest action yet to combat climate change. Obama was unsuccessful in getting a climate change bill through Congress in his first term, but he's acting now using the executive authority under the Clean Air Act.

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Agricultural stakeholders are watching developments closely, to gauge how aggressively the Obama administration will act, as the EPA also considers plans to redefine the waters that fall within its jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act, and a final rule for mandated biofuel use in the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Obama, in his weekly address on Saturday, said the EPA's plan for power plants “will cut down on carbon pollution, smog and soot that threaten the health of the most vulnerable Americans including children and the elderly.” He delivered the address from the Children's National Medical Center, where he met children being treated for from asthma.

“Often these illnesses are aggravated by air pollution - pollution from the same sources that release carbon and contribute to climate change,” he said. “And for the sake of our kids, we've got to do more to reduce it.”

Even before Obama spoke, House Speaker John Boehner criticized the government plan. “Every proposal that has come out of this administration to deal with climate change involves hurting our economy and killing American jobs,” the Ohio Republican said last week.

Obama's response on Saturday: “That's what they always say.”

The House is in recess this week while the Senate is meeting, mostly to consider a long list of presidential appointments, including Sharon Bowen as a commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

This week's tentative events on Capitol Hill and elsewhere in the Washington area include:

 

Monday, June 2.

2 p.m. The Senate reconvenes

4 p.m. USDA weekly Crop Progress report.

 

Tuesday, June 3.

The Senate will be in recess from 12:30 to 2:15 p.m. for weekly caucus luncheons.

9:30 a.m. Senate Commerce Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation's Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security will hold a hearing to examine the safety and effectiveness of the nation's transportation system. Russell 253.

10:30 a.m. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development will meet to markup FY 2015 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill. Dirksen 124.

2:30 p.m. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power will hold a hearing on legislation (S.2379) to approve and implement the Klamath Basin agreements, including measures to sustain agricultural production in the region. Dirksen 366.

 

Wednesday, June 4.

10:30 a.m. Senate Judiciary Committee meets to examine nominations. Dirksen 226

3 p.m. Senate Small Business Committee holds hearing focusing on supporting American's veteran entrepreneurs. Russell 428A.

3 p.m. USDA reports on Broiler Hatchery and Dairy Products.

 

Thursday, June 5.

Friday, June 6.

4 p.m. USDA report on Peanut Prices

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