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EPA sends CO2 emissions rule to White House

The Environmental Protection Agency has acted quickly on the president’s orders to issue emissions limits for new power plants, sending a draft of the proposed rule to the White House on Monday, according to Politico.

Last week, President Barack Obama announced that he was directing the EPA to issue greenhouse gas emissions limits for new and existing power plants, which critics argued would hurt the coal industry.

The EPA has already acted on the president’s orders to limit emissions from new power plants, which could foreshadow that the agency will also move swiftly in issuing emissions limits for existing power plants.

The content of the draft may not become public for months. Politico reports that it “may be significantly weaker than an April 2012 draft that had seemed vulnerable to industry legal challenges.”

Earlier this year, the EPA missed a deadline to finalize emissions limits for new power plants, angering environmental groups. The proposed limits would have effectively banned the construction of new coal-fired power plants unless they utilized carbon capture technology, which is not commercially viable.

The Obama administration’s new plan to address global warming includes funding for carbon capture technology as part of $8 billion in loan guarantees, but critics argue that the administration is simply continuing its “war on coal.”

“After failing to get congressional approval for his partisan environmental agenda, President Obama has announced that he will unilaterally forge ahead with his job-killing plan,” said West Virginia Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito. “In 2008, then-Senator Obama made threats to ‘bankrupt’ anyone who wants to build a new coal-fired power plant, and over the years he has used the Environmental Protection Agency as a way to accomplish that goal.”

The administration’s plan has also been criticized as being a “backdoor energy tax.”

“Because the president knows that he cannot possibly advance this backdoor energy tax through even the Democrat-controlled Senate, he much prefers to force his agenda through the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal bureaucracies where political appointees and loyal White House lieutenants can accomplish through executive fiat what he never could through legislation,” said Thomas Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research.

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