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Republicans, Industries vow pushback against Obama climate plan

Numerous media reports, including those generally portraying the idea as positive, say President Obama’s unveiling on Monday of the first national standard to limit carbon pollution from US power plants will face fierce opposition from conservatives and industry players.

Bloomberg Politics (8/3, Drajem, Keane) predicts a “red-state, blue-state battle reminiscent of Obamacare,” whilePolitico (8/4, Guillén) calls the plan “one of the broadest forays by any president into environmental protection,” one that “will play a major role in Obama’s legacy” but also promises to ignite “one of the biggest battles” of his presidency. US News & World Report (8/3, Williams) says in its “Washington Whispers” blog that “Republicans and business leaders immediately lined up to slam the plan, as a job-killer and a good way to get creamed economically by China,” which is among the world’s biggest emitters of carbon pollution.

Reuters (8/3, Mason, Volcovici) quotes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as promising to “do everything I can to stop it.” House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said Obama’s proposal amounts to an “energy tax,” adding, “I believe this final plan is an expensive, arrogant insult to Americans who are struggling to make ends meet.” McClatchy (8/3, Adams, Cockerham) says McConnell, who is “in a key position to oversee the interests of his party’s agenda as well as the needs of his coal-country constituents,” will be “doing whatever he can to undermine” the plan. On the Senate floor Monday, the GOP leader “laid out his case … saying that the rule would hurt workers and possibly even the environment, as energy production is outsourced to nations with poor environmental records.”

Bloomberg Politics (8/3, Drajem, Keane) also says that McConnell urged states “to reject the power plant regulations” just as they “challenged requirements under the Affordable Care Act.” Roll Call’s (8/3, Lesniewski) “WGDB” blog said the Kentucky senator “swung the door wide open to a legislative response,” saying, “We can pursue other avenues, like [Congressional Review Act] resolutions and further appropriations riders, as these regulations are published and as they wind their way through the courts.” However, Roll Call added that the GOP must weigh “whether it will risk a government shutdown with no expectation that Obama would ever cave on one of his signature issues and with the rules sure to be challenged in the courts.”

The New York Times (8/4, A1, Davenport, Davis, Subscription Publication) describes Obama’s plan as “aggressive,” and notes that the president, “who wants to make his initiatives to address the warming of the planet a central element of his legacy, called the new rules a public health imperative.”

The Washington Times (8/4, Wolfgang) says Obama “took direct aim at critics, painting them as ‘lazy’ and uninterested in doing what’s necessary to preserve the planet.” The Los Angeles Times (8/4, Parsons) says the president tried to “anticipate and rebut arguments from critics about harm his vision could do to American business.” He spoke in “personal terms about his days at Occidental College in Los Angeles,” recalling “the smog that made it hard to breathe when he went out for a run and the people who had to stay inside on especially bad days.”

Mining Group Asks EPA To Stay Its Climate Rule. The Hill (8/3, Wheeler), in a story leading with the National Mining Association’s request in a letter that the Environmental Protection Agency postpone implementation of the new climate rule, says the NAM was also “voicing its opposition to the rule on Monday.” The story cited a statement in which the manufacturers group said it was “keeping all options on the table, including litigation,” to ensure that US manufacturers can compete globally. NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons said in the statement that the Obama plan “will be exceptionally difficult for manufacturers to meet and will increase energy prices and threaten electric reliability.” He added, “Manufacturers are committed to being responsible stewards of our environment, leading the way in that effort, and we are disappointed the Obama administration has chosen to pursue this path.”

Politico (8/3, Goode, Guillén), in its “Morning Energy” fixture, excerpted the same quote from Timmons as well as the NAM’s pledge to consider all options. The Washington Times (8/4, Wolfgang) also notes that pledge. Meanwhile, the industry journal Mining (8/3, Topf) cites the NAM as arguing that the Obama plan “will severely hurt American competitiveness.”

The AP (8/3, Lederman), in an assessment of “who wins and loses” under the Clean Power Plan, includes among losers “your power bill.” The story cites the NAM and other industry groups as predicting that the stricter rule will “drive electricity bills up.” The administration says the plan “will actually lower the average U.S. energy bill by almost $85 in 2030,” the AP notes, but “companies that produce and distribute electricity aren’t buying it,” mainly due to the high cost of “acquiring and constructing renewable power sources.”

Business Wire (8/3) carried a news release from the Partnership for a Better Energy Future, “a coalition of more than 170 organizations and trade associations” including the NAM, that vowed to “continue to explore every possible remedy to make sure greenhouse gas (GHG) regulatory actions do not cost American jobs and hurt the U.S. economy.” The release also quoted Timmons as saying that US manufacturers “need policies that foster continued innovation, encourage new investments and allow manufacturers to remain competitive—not ones that punish and penalize.”

EHS Today (8/3) assesses the plan, counting among its “critics” the NAM’s Timmons, who is quoted at length.

The Akron (OH) Beacon Journal (8/4, Downing) says the Obama plan “could force Ohio’s coal-fired plants to dramatically change the way they operate by improving efficiency, switching to natural gas or perhaps shutting down.” Coal-fired power plants in the state are No. 5 in US production of carbon dioxide, behind only Texas, California, Pennsylvania, and Florida. The Beacon Journal also quotes Timmons as criticizing the rules as “difficult to meet” and therefore costly.

Litigation On Power Plan Is Imminent. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) announced Monday that he will challenge the Clean Power Plan in court, the Washington Times (8/4, Wolfgang) reports. Morrisey, who will be joined in filing the suit by 14 other state attorneys general, said at a news conference, “The final rule announced Monday blatantly disregards the rule of law and will severely harm West Virginia and the U.S. economy.”

Analysis: Plan Will Be A “Major Issue” In 2016 Presidential Race. In an analysis, USA Today (8/4, Jackson) considers the plan’s impact on the 2016 presidential race, noting that it will be a “major issue,” because the next president “will have a say on how — and if — Obama’s proposed emission reductions are enforced.” Although Democratic candidates “praised” Obama’s initiative as “a good way to confront the challenges of climate challenge,” Republicans “cast it as over-regulation that will reduce jobs and inflate utility bills.”

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