The Senate majority leader lacks the votes to block EPA rules requiring states to reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, so he's reaching out to governors to stop the rules at the state level.
On Thursday, McConnell sent a letter to each governor detailing a legal argument on why states shouldn't comply with the climate change rules.
“We’ve seen modern lobbying strategies that become a very large campaign, coordinated with states and localities, but we’ve never seen a Senate majority leader or House speaker in front of it,” says James Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University in Washington. “It’s quite clever. It’s sophisticated and unusual.”
McConnell's home state of Kentucky is one of the nation’s largest coal producers.
In a related development on Thursday, President Obama ordered the federal government to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent, compared to 2008 levels, over the next decade.
Meanwhile, the National Snow and Ice Data Center said on Thursday that Arctic sea ice has reached its lowest winter point since satellite observations began in the late 1970s, raising concerns about faster ice melt and rising seas as a result of global warming.