Feds promise to work with businesses on meeting emissions goals

White House spokesman John Earnest confirmed that the government would work collaboratively with businesses to achieve the standards, which some have said would essentially ban new coal-powered electric plants. 

“There is an opportunity for us to work with the industry to put in place the kind of rules that make their products better, that make their products safer, that encourage them, incentivize them to innovate ... that can have benefits not just for consumers but also for the general public and for the broader economy,” he told reporters.

The Energy Department is offering $8 billion in loan guarantees to projects that help cut back on greenhouse gas emissions.

Since President Obama took office, the department has committed around $6 billion to support "clean coal" efforts, Moniz said.

“These programs are part of a real all-of-the-above clean energy strategy for a low carbon future where efficiency, coal, natural gas, nuclear and renewable sources all have an important role to play, and can successfully compete in a global marketplace,” he added.

The proposed limits for coal plants will require a technology to capture and store carbon, which Republicans and energy companies have said is too expensive and not yet viable for the commercial market. However, the proposed rules also allow companies to average out their emissions over seven years as a way to phase in the technology.