OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Obama proposes landmark climate rule

GOT CARBON? Well, it has to go, the Obama administration said Monday.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled new standards that mandate power plants cut carbon dioxide emissions 30 percent by 2030.

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The rules opened a tidal wave of backlash from Republicans, industry, and coal advocates who insist the standards are a "national energy tax" that will kill coal plants across the U.S.

Environmentalists, and energy efficiency businesses heralded the rules as a historic proposal, putting a price on carbon for existing power plants for the first time in the U.S.

"Today, climate change — fueled by carbon pollution — supercharges risks not just to our health, but to our communities, our economy, and our way of life," EPA chief Gina McCarthy said Monday. "That's why EPA is delivering on a vital piece of President Obama's Climate Action Plan."

For every dollar invested in the new climate initiative, families will get back $7 in health benefits the EPA said.

The announcement has also sparked a climate change campaign frenzy by the White House.

Obama promoted the rules with health groups Monday while his closest adviser on climate change, John Podesta, enlisted businesses to help boost the economic case for climate action.


GOP POUNCES: Republicans came out in force almost immediately after EPA announced the proposal Monday, blasting it as an expensive regulation that will kill jobs and that Obama bypassed Congress to write.

“The president’s plan is nuts, there’s really no more succinct way to describe it,” Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement.

And Republicans facing midterms quickly started trying to tie their Democratic opponents directly to the proposed rules, while Democrats in coal-heavy states sought to distances themselves.

McConnell has pledged to propose a bill to block the rules, as have Reps. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) and David McKinley (R-W.Va.)


ON TAP TUESDAY: A Senate Environment and Public Works subpanel will examine the impacts of climate change on the farming, fishing, forestry and hunting industries.

Lawmakers will hear from Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe, as well as witnesses representing fisheries, academia and conservation districts.

 

Rest of Tuesday's agenda ... 

A Senate Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Klamath Basin Water Recovery and Economic Restoration Act. The Senate delegations from Oregon and California introduced the bill in April in an attempt to resolve land and water disputes in the Klamath River Basin, which extends into both states.
 
The Brookings Institute will host an event on the economic consequences of delaying climate policy in the United States. It will feature scholars both from Brookings and from other think tanks to talk about the group’s economic modeling and the outcomes of various climate policy decisions.

 

NEWS BITES:

Climate rule reactions...

The good ... "America’s workers must come out ahead and the electric grid must be strengthened. The steps we take today and over the next few months must ensure that workers and communities are able to navigate this transition as smoothly as possible and the infrastructure is put in place to ensure reliability of the grid," Michael Langford, president of the Utility Workers Union of America, said in a statement.

The bad ... “Despite negative economic growth last quarter, and despite far better approaches pending in Congress to promote energy efficiency and energy innovation, the president has decided to push ahead and propose a sweeping new regulation on our still-weak economy," Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said in a statement.

The ugly ... Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) in a roundabout way blamed Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) for the president's signature climate regulation unveiled today. Cassidy cited Landrieu's vote to approve Gina McCarthy as EPA administrator last year, stating McCarthy spearheaded the creation of the agency's rules on carbon pollution from power plants. Cassidy is challenging Landrieu for her Senate seat during this year's midterms.

The Terminator ... “You only need to look at the decades of scientific research and at the epic droughts and superstorms to know that we can't wait any longer to take action on climate change," former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) said in a statement.

 
AROUND THE WEB:

The Associated Press looks at winners and losers in the power plant rule, declaring companies involved in low-carbon energy such as nuclear, natural gas and renewables to be winners, while coal miners, railroads and coal generators are losers.

Kosovo is asking the World Bank to help finance a new coal-fired power plant, testing the organization’s pledge to avoid coal, Bloomberg News reports.

Hurricanes with female names are deadlier than those with male names, a fact that researchers attribute to people taking the female names less seriously, USA Today reports.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
- EPA unveils landmark climate rule
- Podesta panned Obama's climate record before joining as adviser
- Kerry calls for ocean protection
- WH adviser enlists businesses in climate war
- Grimes campaign hits Obama on coal
- Obama reaches out to health groups on carbon
- Poll: Majority of US supports limits on greenhouse gas emissions
- GOP targets vulnerable Dems on EPA rule
- Business groups close ranks for climate battle
- Democrats' new coal headache
- WH: EPA rule will lower power bills, create jobs
- EU says US climate rule doesn't go far enough
- Boehner: EPA plan ‘nuts
- Obama's climate rule clocks in at 645 pages
- EPA chief: Critics crying wolf on climate rule
- Rahall, McKinley plan bill to block EPA rules
- Pediatricians shower praise on climate change regs
- Administration using asthma to justify rule
- McConnell: EPA proposal 'dagger in heart' of middle class
- Business coalition applauds power plant rule
- Menendez: EPA rule moves US away from 'climate denying'
- GOP blasts power plant carbon rule
- Carney: US 'has to lead' on climate change
- Obama's new climate war opens

 

Please send tips and comments to Laura Barron-Lopez, laurab@thehill.com and Timothy Cama, tcama@thehill.com.

 

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