Politics

Obama budget: EPA will still address climate change

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor

President Barack Obama is looking to make good on his promise to tackle climate change during his second term, even including a promise of continued EPA action against climate change in his 2014 budget proposal.

“The President has set a goal to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, and EPA has taken steps to help make significant progress toward this goal,” reads Obama’s 2014 budget proposal.

“In 2014, EPA will continue to implement existing regulations to reduce emissions from light duty and heavy duty mobile sources,” states the budget. “EPA will continue to collaborate with Federal and State agencies, the private sector, and other stakeholders, to explore other cost-effective strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Environmentalists have been pushing the president to use his executive authority under the Clean Air Act to tackle climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“You have the authority under existing law to achieve urgently needed reductions in the carbon pollution that is disrupting our climate and damaging our health,” reads a letter from nearly 70 environmental groups, urging Obama to use the EPA’s Clean Air Act authority to further limit emissions from U.S. power plants.

“Power plants are our largest source of carbon pollution and you have the authority and responsibility to clean them up under the Clean Air Act,” the letter from environmentalists reads. “This will create tens of thousands of clean energy jobs, meet the pollution targets you set for the country, and restore U.S. international leadership.”

The president gave a nod to concerned environmentalists in his State of the Union address when he promised to use his executive authority to address climate change if congress failed to do so.

“But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will,” said Obama. “I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.”

The president’s budget also maintains funding levels for energy efficiency programs. The EPA will also have programs to spur local community efforts prepare for the impacts of climate change.

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