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Obama vetoes GOP overturning of climate policy

President Obama vetoed measures made by congressional Republicans to overturn the main pillars of his landmark climate change policy for power plants on Saturday morning.

The decision was not unexpected, as Obama’s administration repeatedly threatened the action to protect a top priority which will also be a major part of his legacy as he leaves office next year.

The White House announced his formal inaction on the congressional measures, considered a “pocket veto”.

“Climate change poses a profound threat to our future and future generations,” the president said in a statement about the Republican effort to end carbon dioxide limits for power plans.

“The Clean Power Plan is a tremendously important step in the fight against global climate change,” Obama wrote, adding that “because the resolution would overturn the Clean Power Plan, which is critical to protecting against climate change and ensuring the health and well-being of our nation, I cannot support it.”

This rule from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandates a 32% cut in the power sector’s carbon output by the year 2030.

Congress passed the resolutions in November and December under the Congressional Review Act, a rarely utilized law that allows the legislative branch a streamlined way to challenge the actions of the executive branch. The passage of the resolutions through the GOP-dominated congress were merely symbolic since Obama had already promised to veto.

Twenty-seven states as well as various energy and business interests are currently suing the Obama administration in an attempt to stop the existing power plant rule. Their argument is that it violates the Clean Air Act along with states’ constitutional rights.


The plaintiffs are seeking an immediate halt to the rule while it is being litigated, which will probably be decided on by the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit later this month.

Every single Republican candidate in the 2016 presidential election has expressed a stance of wanting to overturn this rule.

In addition to the pocket veto, the President is formally sending the resolutions back to the Senate to make clear his disapproval.

Obama has now vetoed a total of seven pieces of legislation, with five of those being from 2015 alone, which is the first year of his presidency with the Republicans controlling both the House of Representatives and the Senate