Enviro Heartbreak: EPA May Delay New Power-Plant Rules
The Obama administration is leaning toward revising its landmark proposal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants, according to several individuals briefed on the matter, a move that would delay tougher restrictions and anger many environmentalists.
The discussions center on the first greenhouse gas limits for power plants, which were proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency nearly a year ago. Rewriting the proposal would significantly postpone any action and also might allow the agency to set more permissive standards for coal-fired power plants, which are roughly twice as polluting as those fueled by natural gas.
Any retreat on the rules would be a blow to environmental groups and their supporters, who constituted a crucial voting bloc for President Obama and other Democrats in last year’s election.
White House spokesman Clark Stevens said suggestions of any sort of decision by the EPA was incorrect, noting the agency was still in the process of reviewing the 2 million comments it had received on the rule.
The move coincides with Obama’s call on Friday for a new federal fund to research clean energy alternatives for cars and trucks. The creation of an Energy Security Trust, which the president outlined in his State of the Union speech, would invest $2 billion in federal revenue from oil and gas leasing into breakthrough technologies.
“After years of talking about it, we’re finally poised to take control of our energy future,” Obama said.
The contrast between the two policies highlights the delicate balancing act Obama is attempting to strike in his second-term energy and environmental agenda — seeking ways to combat climate change, while avoiding damage to a still-struggling economy.
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