Report: Obama readies July climate plan

President Obama intends to unveil a package of second-term climate change policies in July, according to a news account.

Bloomberg reports that Obama, at closed-door fundraisers in recent weeks, “has been telling Democratic party donors that he will unveil new climate proposals in July.”

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The story cites sources that attended the events or have been briefed. Bloomberg notes that a person “close to the White House” said final decisions are still being made about the plan.

Obama has vowed to take new executive-level actions if Congress doesn’t pass a major climate law, and the prospects for Capitol Hill action are remote.

Several agencies have a hand in climate policies, but Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations are among the most closely watched and controversial.

EPA, in March 2012, proposed carbon emissions rules for new power plants, but their completion has been delayed.

Green groups and several Democratic lawmakers are pressing the Obama administration to take a more far-reaching step: Act on the EPA’s commitment, made in a 2010 legal settlement, to require emissions rules for existing power plants.

Addressing existing coal-fired plants is a top priority for activists, but the White House and the EPA have not provided a timeline for launching the lengthy administrative journey for those rules.

Regulations to address new plants are “anticipated” to be included in Obama’s plan, and the White House plan may address existing plants as well, Bloomberg reports.

The White House is forming its climate policies amid the intense battle over the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.

Bloomberg reports that the potential July plan would consist of “separate actions.”

Pro-pipeline Republicans have warned Obama not to pair approval of the pipeline to new climate regulations they allege would be economically harmful.

Environmental activists battling Keystone have similarly said they are not interested in a quid pro quo that allows the pipeline to move ahead alongside new climate policies.

But Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who opposes Keystone, said in April that if Keystone is indeed going to be approved, it should be linked to “a whole formidable array of environmental and anti-carbon measures.”