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House Defies Veto Vow, Passes Bill to Block Climate Rules

March 6 (Bloomberg) -- The Republican-led U.S. House defied a presidential veto threat and passed legislation that would head off regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency to limit greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants.

The legislation, which passed 229 to 183 today, is opposed by President Barack Obama and is unlikely to come up for a vote in the Senate.

Lawmakers said the EPA relied on carbon-capture technology that’s not ready for commercial use in writing the proposal for new coal-fired power plants. The House-backed measure would bar the agency from using the standard until six plants have employed the technology for a year.

The measure also would delay action on rules the EPA is writing for existing power plants until Congress passes legislation to put them into effect.

Coal is the mainstay of U.S. electricity production, accounting for as much as half the generation in the last decade. With the boom in natural gas from drilling advances such as hydraulic fracturing, coal accounted for 39 percent of electricity generation in 2013.

Coal emits the most carbon dioxide of fossil fuels used to generate power.

The EPA argues that it’s not aiming to kill coal and that by establishing rules for its continued use, it could save the industry.

The Obama administration said the bill undermines health protections in the Clean Air Act and “arbitrarily restricts the available technologies” that could be used to limit carbon pollution, according to a statement that said presidential advisers would recommend the measure be vetoed if passed.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Drajem in Washington at mdrajem@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at jmorgan97@bloomberg.net

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