* Senate vote was 50-50 in blow for Republicans
* All four measures in Senate to stop or slow EPA fail
* House slated to vote on bill Thursday
(Adds White House comment)
By Timothy Gardner
WASHINGTON, April 6 The U.S. Senate rejected a
measure on Wednesday to kill Environmental Protection Agency
regulations of emissions blamed for warming the planet, handing
a victory to President Barack Obama.
The EPA's rules to fight emissions, which it began rolling
out early this year, are one of Obama's top strategies to
reduce dependence on fossil fuels, generate more alternative
energy and protect the health of old and young people.
Republicans had hoped to pick up more support from
Democrats in energy-dependent states facing tight elections
next year on the measure sponsored by Republican leader Mitch
McConnell. It got only 50 votes in the Democratic-led
100-member chamber, short of the 60 votes needed to pass.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the Senate "rejected
an approach that would have increased the nation's dependence
on oil, contradicted the scientific consensus on global
warming, and jeopardized America's ability to lead the world in
the clean energy economy."
The Senate also rejected three other amendments sponsored
by Democrats to limit the EPA, including one by Jay
Rockefeller, from coal-rich West Virginia, which would have
delayed the agency from regulating the gases for two years.
Republicans and some Democrats who wanted to stop the EPA
regulations said the rules on emissions from big polluters like
oil refineries and power plants would hurt businesses as they
struggle to recover from the economic downturn.
The Senate failed last year to pass a comprehensive bill on
climate and energy.
Later this year, the EPA is expected to propose emissions
limits on oil refineries and power plants that it expects to
finalize next year.
Analysts said congressional efforts to stop the EPA could
come up later this year, perhaps during debates over next
The Republican-led House of Representatives is scheduled to
vote on Thursday on a separate bill that would permanently stop
the EPA from regulating the gases.
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner and Richard Cowan; Editing by