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Republicans are gearing up to use the Obama administration's efforts to curb CO2 emissions as a cudgel in the 2014 elections. The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday announced proposed limits on emissions from new coal and natural gas electricity-generating facilities and the GOP sees those as a huge liability for Democrats in coal-rich states.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee sent out an email Friday targeting seven Democrats under the title of "Democrats Side With Obama's Radical EPA over Local Workers, Business and Industry." The seven are all in competitive races: Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana; Reps. Bruce Braley of Iowa and Gary Peters of Michigan; and Secretaries of State Natalie Tennant of West Virginia and Alison Lundergan Grimes of Kentucky.

Coral Davenport reports:

"Climate policy will play a major role in the campaign in specific areas," said Jordan Davis, policy director of the National Republican Congressional Committee. His campaign's top target is Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall of West Virginia, and he expects to use Obama's climate policy to attack Democrats in the coal-rich areas of western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, and southern Illinois. [...]

"It's not so much about the climate science," Davis said. "We have a lot of members in our caucus who are not crazy climate deniers. It's about the policy."

Will the 161 members of the House Republican caucus who reject the scientific consensus regarding global warming take kindly to being called "crazy"? Mr. Davis's phone ought be ringing off the hook with calls from the likes of Reps. Adrian Smith of Nebraska and Robert Aderholt of Alabama and Lynn Jenkins of Kansas, all of them demanding to know, "Who are you calling 'crazy'?"

"Crazy" is wrong only in that it is an incomplete description of Congressmembers who are reckless, scientific ignoramuses and/or puppet shills for the fossil-fuel industry, neither caring about the health of their constituents nor the health of the planet. And while Davis is right that not all Republican members of Congress are crazy deniers, he'd be hard-pressed to come up with more than a handful to actually admit what they presumably know to be true: that their colleagues who oppose the new EPA limits are "crazy."

The new emissions limits will indeed, if finalized, make it tough to build new coal-powered plants. But they already aren't being built. This is mostly a function of cheap natural gas, which emits about half as much CO2 as coal-fired plants and has cheaper start-up costs. Of the 263 power plants that have come on line so far this year and are scheduled to do so between now and the end of 2014, only two will burn coal.

"Crazy" is thinking the EPA should be stopped in its tracks just when it is getting up a head of steam headed in the right direction. But that's a crazy Jordan Davis, the NRSC and NRCC will be supporting in their campaign to pitch congressional Democrats over the side in 2014.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Mon Sep 23, 2013 at 09:56 AM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Change SOS, DK GreenRoots, and Daily Kos.

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