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RPT-West Virginia senator pushes coal bill as counterweight to EPA

Feb 26th, 2014

As the Obama administration readies rules to force all U.S. power plants to lower the rate at which they produce greenhouse gases, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a majorĀ coal state, is trying to steer a bill through the Senate that he said would hold off the Environmental Protection Agency.

The bill that Manchin, a Democrat, has co-sponsored with a fellow coal-state lawmaker, Kentucky Republican Representative Ed Whitfield, would severely weaken the federal Clean Air Act, environmental groups say.

Congressional sources expect the bill to be put up for a vote next week by the Republican-led House of Representatives, where it is likely to pass. But it faces an uphill battle in the Senate, which is led by Democrats.

Manchin said in an interview that despite a series of conversations with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, the agency seems unwilling to bend on what he characterized as untenable standards that rely on technology that is not viable for capturing carbon emissions from power plants.

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