Obama to Announce New EPA Regulations on Monday

Image: Obama to Announce New EPA Regulations on Monday

Friday, 30 May 2014 12:40 PM

By Melissa Clyne

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President Barack Obama on Monday plans to announce his decision to use his executive power to cut carbon emissions by up to 20 percent, a move that would be "the strongest action ever taken by an American president to tackle climate change," The New York Times reports.

The initiative would allow states to use cap-and-trade systems, which let companies emitting pollutants buy and sell greenhouse gas emission allowances. A cap is set on the total number of permits to dispense carbon emissions. Companies that emit larger amounts of greenhouse gases can buy additional permits from companies that don’t need to emit as many.

Obama will also unveil renewable energy and other "aggressive goals" to reduce emissions from existing power plants, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Republican opposition is expected following the June 2 announcement, according to the Times.

A national limit on coal plants — the biggest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions – is anticipated, as is allowing individual states to institute their own plans to cut emissions, according to the Times, such as adding alternative energy sources like wind and solar power.

Forty percent of Americans’ electricity comes from burning coal, which is less expensive and more plentiful than oil and natural gas, but emits more carbon dioxide, according to the Journal.

Obama's top climate change adviser, John Podesta, met with senior House Democrats – including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman of California, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland, Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, Doris Matsui of California, Gerry Connolly of Virginia, and Gary Peters of Michigan, Bloomberg reports.

Unidentified Democrats who were familiar with the meeting characterized it as "light on substance and heavy on talking points," according to Bloomberg.

Podesta told the group that Democrats should brace for Republican resistance "but not with the same intensity that they fought the Affordable Care Act," according to Bloomberg, noting that Podesta pointed out that refusal to cooperate would result in enforcement by the Environmental Protection Agency.

New regulations will wreak havoc on consumers' utility bills since companies will pass along the cost of paying for emissions allowances, amounting to a "hidden tax," according to Hal Quinn, president and chief executive of the National Mining Association, a trade group representing coal-mining companies including Alpha Natural Resources, Arch Coal Inc., and Peabody Energy Corp.

"The impact will not only be to greatly increase electricity rates, putting U.S. manufacturing at a competitive disadvantage, but [also to] jeopardize reliability of the nation's electric grid," Quinn told the Journal.

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