WASHINGTON, June 10 (UPI) -- The U.S. Senate rejected a resolution Thursday to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its authority to regulate climate-changing greenhouse gases.
The 53-47 vote -- with six Democrats, mainly from oil and coal states, joining all 41 Senate Republicans in the minority -- affirmed the EPA's authority to limit greenhouse gas emissions by oil refineries, coal-burning power plants and other industrial facilities.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, sponsor of the defeated resolution, decried what she called "an unprecedented power grab" that she said would hand over congressional authority to "unelected bureaucrats" at the federal agency, charged with protecting human health and the environment.
She added EPA regulations would raise energy costs, kill jobs and harm the economy, The Hill reported.
In a statement issued by the White House, President Barack Obama commended the Senate for defeating the resolution, which he said "would have increased our dependence on oil by blocking efforts to cut the harmful pollution that contributes to climate change."
"Today's vote is yet another reminder of the urgent need to pass legislation that would help America transition to a 21st century clean energy economy that would create jobs, strengthen our national security, and protect our environment for our children," Obama said.
Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., argued the agency had a responsibility under the law and a clear mandate in scientific findings to regulate greenhouse gases, which the EPA says threaten human health as well as add to global warming.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., facing a re-election fight against conservative Republican and former Hewlett-Packard Co. Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina, said it was "ironic" the EPA measure was surfacing "at the same time that every American sees graphic evidence on television every single day of the deadly carbon pollution in the gulf," The Hill said.
An ABC News/Washington Post poll Thursday found 71 percent of Americans said they supported greenhouse gas regulation to reduce global warming, up 6 points from December. Fifty-two percent "strongly" support greenhouse gas regulation, the poll indicated, while 19 percent strongly opposed.
The telephone poll of 1,004 adults, conducted June 3-6, has a 3.5-point margin of error.