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Republicans press Obama administration on climate change agenda

House Republicans are asking the Environmental Protection Agency to provide them with information regarding President Obama’s plans to address climate change during his second term.

“Notwithstanding the importance of encouraging economic recovery and job growth, EPA has during the President’s first term issued thousands of pages of greenhouse gas regulations that impose additional costs on all sectors of the economy,” wrote Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in a letter to acting EPA administrator Bob Perciasepe.

“We are concerned about the impacts of these regulations and also of new additional regulations that EPA intends to issue that will drive up energy prices for Americans, further discouraging economic growth and job creation,” the letter continues.

House Republicans are trying to see exactly what actions President Obama plans for climate change after promising to use his executive authority to act if Congress failed to do so.

The committee asked for additional information regarding EPA greenhouse gas regulations, including information on whether or not the EPA plans to propose emissions limits on existing power plants and refineries.

Environmentalists have been pressing the Obama administration to adopt regulations on existing power plants as a way to cut carbon emissions and fight climate change, while conservatives argue that it will hurt the coal industry.

The Natural Resources Defense Council released a plan to limit carbon dioxide emissions for existing power plants by encouraging a federal-state partnership to cut emissions.

According to the group, older coal plants plants make up 40 percent of U.S. carbon emissions. Their plan would cut carbon pollution from existing plants 26 percent by 2020 and 34 percent by 2025. The plan would cost $4 billion in 2020, but yield between $25 billion and $60 billion in benefits to public health and reduced climate change.

“The impact is huge: our proposal would eliminate hundreds of millions of tons of carbon pollution, save thousands of lives and stimulate a surge in clean energy and energy efficiency investments,” said NRDC Director of Climate and Clean Air programs Dan Lashof, “all at a lower cost than many would expect.”

The Washington Post reports that an NRDC spokesperson said their proposal would still accelerate the closure of old coal plants.

“Coal is toast,” Thomas J. Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, told The Daily Caller News Foundation in regards to a second term for President Obama.

“We will see energy prices continue to go up as a result of these policies,” said Pyle.

“[I]t’s pretty clear that if President Obama secures a second term, the Obama-EPA will have a very busy next four years, moving full speed ahead to implement numerous major rules and regulations that he has delayed or punted due to the upcoming election,” according to a report by Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe that warned of an unfettered EPA during Obama’s second term.

The EPA has already proposed standards for new power plants, but has not yet proposed any for existing power plants.

The Energy and Commerce Committee also compiled a list of more than 2,900 pages of greenhouse gas regulations issued or proposed by EPA since January 2009.

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