Report: Obama to signal executive action on climate change in SOTU

Obama will lay out a plan involving his use of executive authority to propose new emissions standards on existing power plants, according to a Wall Street Journal report citing people in discussions with the White House.

The Environmental Protection Agency has already proposed rules that would require new plants to adhere to tough new limits.  Additional ruled issued by the EPA would meet with staunch opposition from congressional Republicans.

“The Environmental Protection Agency has been overly zealous,” Rep. Ed WhitfieldWayne (Ed) Edward WhitfieldWhy Republicans took aim at an ethics watchdog What Azerbaijan wants from Israel? Overnight Energy: Green group sues Exxon over climate science MORE (R-Ky.) said during remarks this week at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’s (NARUC) winter meeting.

“If they start trying to do this with existing plants, they’re going to have a real battle,” he told reporters afterward.

Obama signaled his intention to press for measures to counter the effects of global warming during last month’s inaugural address. 

“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. “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms.”

Democrats heralded the remarks. Acknowledging that gridlock would make it difficult for any major climate legislation to win congressional approval, some lawmakers have urged Obama to press forward on his own.

For his part, Obama has shown a willingness to use his executive authority on issues ranging from immigration to gun control. But it is unclear how far he would go in his State of the Union speech, to be delivered Tuesday to a joint session of Congress.