State of the Union to Target Emissions Cuts

EPA could move to limit existing plants' greenhouse gases

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 6, 2013 9:19 AM CST

(Newser) – President Obama's 2013 State of the Union address will follow up on his inaugural call to arms against climate change, insiders say. Though the specifics aren't clear yet, it's likely Obama will discuss limiting existing power plants' emissions—a plan that could depend on his use of executive authority, the Wall Street Journal notes. The EPA has so far focused on rules for new power plants as well as limiting certain toxins for existing plants; Tuesday's speech could herald the agency's first action against greenhouse gases at existing plants.

"You will ultimately see a proposal from EPA to regulate existing power plants," says an insider. "How he talks about it in the State of the Union could be anything from, 'We've taken important steps and we need to take more,' to 'We need to make more (progress) and the next one on the chopping block is existing sources'" of emissions. The president has been calling on staffers to get "very specific about how to achieve" his greenhouse-gas goals, a former administration official says. But a House GOP leader on energy says that "if they try to start (regulating) existing plants, they're going to have a real battle on their hands."

President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013.
President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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