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President Barack Obama’s ‘Plan B’ for tackling global warming is under attack in the courts and on Capitol Hill.

Through federal lawsuits, two conservative attorneys general, a major coal company and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are leading the charge to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to write its own climate rules.

Key coal-state Democrats and nearly all Republicans are also unified in their bid to slow down the EPA via legislation — and they’re determined to force a series of votes on the issue before the next big suite of rules start kicking in next January.

“You attack it at all fronts,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), a leading advocate for stopping the EPA, told POLITICO. “You go the judicial route. You go the legislative route. I think this is important to make sure we are looking at all avenues.”

Bids to stop the EPA started even before the agency concluded last December that greenhouse gases are a threat to public health and welfare, issuing its all-important endangerment finding that essentially triggered a series of climate-themed rules under the Clean Air Act.

But EPA’s moves are now front and center as the Obama administration starts exercising its administrative muscle after Senate Democrats last month shelved a broader climate bill for the year.

“People on the pro- and anti-policy side are increasing the intensity of their curiosity of what EPA is doing because they don’t have a process to focus on,” an Obama administration official said in an interview. “We’re definitely the most significant game in town.”

The EPA took its first big step in the spring when it unveiled new climate-themed standards for motor vehicles, the byproduct of several years of legal wrangling and closed-door negotiations with industry, states and environmentalists.

More rules will come in January for power plants and other major stationary sources. And the EPA is also trying to limit the reach of its future rules on smaller industrial sources by issuing a so-called tailoring rule that sets minimum emission thresholds before any standards would kick in.

The legality of the tailoring rule is under scrutiny in court, but conservatives want to drive home their point that the agency — unless ordered otherwise — is obligated under the law to start setting new restrictions on churches, schools and, maybe someday, lawn mowers. 

“I don’t know if its backyard barbeque grills or hitting small business,” said Robert Stavins, a Harvard University economist who has been working on climate rules for several decades. ”But there will be some regulation that looks silly that just becomes a poster child for the right. And it could lead to less, rather than more, national enthusiasm on climate policy. And people on the right recognize that.”

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