By Valerie Volcovici
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A bill that would curb the ability of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to set limits on carbon emissions from power plants cleared a hurdle in the House of Representatives on Thursday.
The Republican-controlled House passed the bill by a 229-183 vote but the Senate, in which Democrats hold the majority, has no timetable to consider the legislation. President Barack Obama already has threatened to veto the bill.
Representative Ed Whitfield of Kentucky, a Republican, said the bill is a "reasonable alternative" to proposed carbon emissions standards by the EPA for new power plants and forthcoming rules to limit emissions from the country's existing power plants.
Representative Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, said the bill is not an alternative to proposed EPA rules but "part of the Republicans' ongoing attack on the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Air Act authority to address carbon pollution."
Last June Obama directed the EPA to craft emissions rules for thousands of power plants, the bulk of which burn coal and which account for roughly one-third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Ros Krasny and Bill Trott)