The document's neutral wording is hardly an all-out assault on Obama's policies, and indeed could contain the seeds of agreement on some topics like efficiency.
But it's also an early signal of policy fights ahead. For instance, past GOP efforts to speed permitting have led to White House charges that Republicans are trying to gut environmental reviews. Also unclear is how hard Republicans might push on easing decades-old bans on crude-oil exports, an area of potential collision with Obama.
And the brief document also promises some clear battles over Obama's use of the Clean Air Act.
"The committee will also address regulatory overreach of the Environmental Protection Agency, including its power plant rules under Section 111 of the Clear Air Act and recent ozone proposal," it states.
The House can easily pass measures to thwart EPA's climate change rules, while the Senate is tougher terrain.
But Republicans also must grapple with conflicting plans: Following through on efforts to restore normal Senate procedures rather than reverting catch-all spending bills at the eleventh hour, yet also making good on threats to demand language that thwarts Obama's climate agenda, which the White House has vowed to protect.
Those fault lines were on display last week when Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who heads the Appropriations Committee sub-panel that controls EPA's budget, fielded a reporter's question about McConnell's demand for provisions that block EPA's power plant regulations.
Her long, very careful answer highlights the balancing act that the GOP faces. Here's a portion of it:
"It is my intent, and I am working with my appropriations staff—and they know full well what my directive is—and that is, where we are going to be working aggressively every step of the way [is] to put together a bill that is responsive and is something that we can gain support for passage, not a messaging bill, but support for passage," said Murkowski, who also chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
"You are going to have folks that will want to load this particular bill with a lot of different clever ideas as to ways that they can either make things happen or stop things from happening," she added. "And so this is where it is going to take a pretty patient skill set to sift through."
Beyond the spending bill fights, Murkowski also expressed hope that she could find some common ground with Democrats on legislation that she wants to move through the Energy panel, and hopes to hold hearings by early spring.
Murkowski is among the chamber's strongest oil-and-gas industry allies, and strongly supports opening far more areas for drilling offshore than Obama or most Democrats support, among other areas of conflict. But Murkowski said she held out hope for finding common ground with Sen. Maria Cantwell, the panel's top Democrat, citing possibility for agreement on energy efficiency, nuclear-waste policy, and public-lands issues.