EPA to issue climate change plan Friday

“Until now, EPA has been able to assume that climate is relatively stable and future climate would mirror past climate,” reads a notice previewing the plan’s release. “However, with climate changing at an increasingly rapid rate and outside the range to which society has adapted in the past, climate change is posing new challenges to EPA’s ability to fulfill its mission.”

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The plan is designed to help EPA prepare for future changes in climate by incorporating them into the agency’s operations. The public will have 60 days to comment on the draft.

Attempts to obtain more information about the plan from EPA were not immediately successful.

The plan is slated for release days before President Obama is to deliver his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress this month. He is expected to address climate change, as he did during his second inaugural address last month.

“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations,” Obama said.

That response is likely to include new federal rules from EPA, cracking down on air pollution. The agency, for example, is weighing whether to propose new emission standards on existing power plants.

Industry and opponents and congressional Republicans are vowing to fight those regulations, which could ultimately lead to litigation in the coming years.