See Ya: Obama Uses EPA To Push Climate Change Agenda Not Congress


President Obama will announce Tuesday he is planning to sidestep Congress to  implement a national plan to combat climate change that will include the  first-ever federal regulations on carbon dioxide emitted by existing power  plants, despite adamant opposition from Republicans and some energy  producers.

In a speech at Georgetown University Tuesday, Obama will announce he’s  issuing a presidential memorandum to implement the regulations, meaning none of  the steps involved in the plan will require congressional approval.

In addition, Obama will say he is directing his administration to allow  enough renewables on public lands to power 6 million homes by 2020, effectively  doubling the capacity from solar, wind and geothermal projects on federal  property.

Obama also was to announce $8 billion in federal loan guarantees to spur  investment in technologies that can keep carbon dioxide produced by power plants  from being released into the atmosphere.

In taking action on his own, Obama is also signaling he will no longer wait  for lawmakers to act on climate change, and instead will seek ways to work  around them.

The linchpin of Obama’s plan, and the step activists say will have the most  dramatic impact, involves limits on carbon emissions for new and existing power  plants. The Obama administration has already proposed controls on new plants,  but those controls have been delayed and not yet finalized.

Tuesday’s announcement will be the first public confirmation that Obama plans  to extend carbon controls to coal-fired power plants that are currently pumping  heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere.

“This is the holy grail,” said Melinda Pierce of Sierra Club, an  environmental advocacy group. “That is the single biggest step he can take to  help tackle carbon pollution.”

However, critics say that Obama’s changes will create more problems for  America’s coal industry.

“This proposal will buttress an EPA proposed rule issued last year for new  power plants that will essentially ban coal’s use in the future,” Tom Borelli, a  senior fellow at FreedomWorks, told

Forty percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, and one-third of greenhouse  gases overall, come from electric power plants, according to the U.S. Energy  Information Administration, the Energy Department’s statistical agency.

Obama is expected to lay out a broad vision Tuesday, without detailed  emission targets or specifics about how they will be put in place. Instead, the  president will launch a process in which the Environmental Protection Agency  will work with states to develop specific plans to rein in carbon emissions,  with flexibility for each state’s circumstances.

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