Senate Democrats Block Repeal of EPA Power Grab


U.S. Senate Democrats killed a procedural attempt to override President Obama’s veto of a measure to disapprove the Environmental Protection Agency’s unilateral expansion of its regulatory authority over small waterways, even those on private property.

The Senate voted 52-40 in favor of a cloture petition that would have allowed the Senate to proceed with the override attempt. The vote was eight short of the 60 votes, or two-thirds, needed to override a veto.

The Business Council of Alabama and hundreds of similar organizations and businesses across the United States oppose the Waters of the U.S. rule that greatly expands the EPA’s powers without going through Congress as required. The issue is tied up in federal court.

The unilateral expansion of federal authority will impose expensive and time-consuming roadblocks on development and job creation.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the rule would grant federal bureaucrats dominion over nearly every piece of land that touches a pothole, ditch, or puddle. “[Waters of the United States] isn’t really a clean-water measure, it’s an unprecedented federal power grab clumsily masquerading as one,” he said in a statement.

Alabama’s two U.S. senators, Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, and Jeff Sessions, R-Mobile, voted for the veto override petition.

The vote was mostly along party lines with only three Democrats voting for the motion and only one Republican voting no. Eight Senators, including presidential candidates Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., did not vote.

A week ago, the House voted 253-166 in favor of a resolution that would prevent the implementation of the EPA’s WOTUS regulation. Obama vetoed the House resolution on Tuesday. The House vote also was short of the two-thirds veto override requirement.

A federal court has put the regulation on hold to allow the courts to decide whether it complies with the Clean Water Act and the U.S. Constitution.


U.S. Chamber Applauds House Passage of Fairness in Class Action Litigation and Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act
U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Rickard 1/8) “Lisa A. Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), made the following statement today applauding the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the ‘Fairness in Class Action Litigation and Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act of 2015’ (H.R. 1927):

“‘This legislation will bring fairness and transparency to America’s lawsuit system. It will discourage fraud and ensure that real asbestos victims get the money they deserve, now and in the future. The bill also will help guarantee that asbestos trust funds are not drained by trial lawyer fraud. Additionally, it will make sure that class action lawsuits help truly injured individuals and are not used to line plaintiffs’ lawyers’ pockets at the expense of consumers. We commend the House for passing this important legislation, and urge the Senate to quickly do the same’.

“‘ILR seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial, and educational activities at the national, state, and local levels. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations’.”

Court Allows Climate Rule to Continue While Appeals Run Their Course
The Hill (Cama 1/21) “President Obama’s landmark climate change rule for power plants can move forward while its opponents challenge it, a federal court ruled Thursday. The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied a request by West Virginia, dozens of other states and various energy interest groups to put a judicial stay on the regulation, saying the challengers didn’t show that the stay is needed.

“‘Petitioners have not satisfied the stringent requirements for a stay pending court review’, the court’s three-judge panel wrote in the brief order. It’s a major early win for the Environmental Protection Agency, which immediately faced a barrage of congressional and legal challenges from the moment in August when it made the regulation final.

“The rule, known as the Clean Power Plan, mandates a 32 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions from the nation’s power plants. Opponents told the court that without a stay, they would quickly suffer irreparable harm from a regulation that could eventually be overturned, since they say it does not comply with the Clean Air Act and the Constitution. But the opponents did score a win in Thursday’s order. The court agreed to expedite the litigation process, scheduling oral arguments for June