EPA published a finalized version of its global warming rule inthe Federal Register Friday and it wasnâ€™t longbefore New Hampshire Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte bucked her ownparty and came out in support of the rule.
â€œItâ€™s so important that weprotect New Hampshireâ€™s beautiful environmentfor our economy and for our future,â€ Ayotte saidin a statementÂ Sunday
â€œAfter carefully reviewing this plan andtalking with members of our business community, environmentalgroups, and other stakeholders, I have decided to support the CleanPower Plan to address climate change through clean energy solutionsthat will protect our environment,â€ she said.
Ayotte is facing reelection in 2016 and could be fending offattacks from Democrats over her stance on global warming. On theother hand, Ayotte has received sizable donations from a rich donorconcerned about global warming and green energy.
North Carolina businessman Jay Faison and his group, theClearPath Foundation, are promisingÂ to spend millionsto change conservativesâ€™ minds on globalwarming. This includes backing candidates they believe will pushclimate and green energy policies.
Faison donated $5,400 to Ayotte’s campaign in June. Fourdays before Faison donated directly to Ayotteâ€™scampaign, the eco-conscious millionaire gave $500,000 to a superPAC called Granite State Solutions, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
That super PAC funding could be used to defend Ayotte and otherNew Hampshire Republican candidates during the 2016 electioncycle.
Kellyâ€™s statement also endorsedEPAâ€™s so-called Clean Power Plan (CPP) during aninterview Monday with New Hampshire Public Radio.Sheâ€™s the first Republican to support CPP, whichaims to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants 32 percentby 2030.
CPP forces states to come up with plans to reduce power plantemissions in the coming years. EPA is requiring New Hampshire toreduce CO2 emissions 23 percent, but the agency projects the state will exceed its federally-mandatedreductions even without CPP.
In effect, the EPA is saying CPP will have no impact on NewHampshireâ€™s power sector because the state isalready pushing its own policies to cut carbon dioxideemissions.
â€œI will carefully monitor implementation ofthe plan to make sure there is sufficient flexibility for NewHampshire to meet its goals and that the plan does not have anadverse impact on Granite State energy costs,â€ Ayottesaid.
Ayotte is considered a more moderate Republican and represents astate that voted for President Barack Obama in the last twopresidential elections. But Ayotte has also pushed legislation tosubsidize buildings that voluntarily become more energy-efficient,and she supports permanently renewing the Landand Water Conservation Fund.
Ayotteâ€™s remarks were lauded byenvironmentalist billionaire Tom Steyer who spent $73 million lastelection supporting Democratic candidates and causes. Steyer hasalso pledged to spend millions more making global warming a majorissue in the 2016 election.
â€œSenator Kelly Ayotte today recognized asimple political fact: New Hampshire voters overwhelmingly supportpolicies like the Clean Power Plan that save lives, lower energycosts and address climate change,â€ Mike Padmore, whoheads up the New Hampshire operations forSteyerâ€™s group NextGen Climate Action, said in a statement.
â€œIf they want to win New Hampshire,Republican candidates must support action on climatechange,â€ Padmore said.