Fwd: + Obama Faces Fight on EPA Carbon Rules, Beinecke Says (Update1)

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Obama Faces Fight on EPA Carbon Rules, Beinecke Says (Update1)
2010-11-15 23:01:37.532 GMT

(Updates with Rockefeller comments in fifth paragraph.)

By Jim Efstathiou Jr.
Nov. 15 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama must fight to
defend rules cutting global-warming emissions that some
lawmakers have vowed to block, said Frances Beinecke, head of
the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The Environmental Protection Agency rules covering major
polluters such as power plants and similar actions that don't
require congressional approval are Obama's best chance to curb
greenhouse-gas emissions in the near future, Beinecke said
today. Obama failed this year to push climate-change legislation
through a Congress controlled by fellow Democrats. Republicans,
who will control the House next year, opposed the measure.
"It's absolutely critical that EPA move forward with the
rule-makings that it has on climate," Beinecke, president of
the nonprofit environmental group, said in an interview at
Bloomberg News headquarters in New York. "That will be a very
tough fight."
The EPA's carbon regulations are set to begin Jan. 2 and
will apply to new or modified industrial sources of pollution.
Lawmakers such as Senator Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia
Democrat, and states such as Texas have sought to delay or
cancel the rules, saying they would hurt the economy.
Democrats should act now to delay the EPA's regulations or
face the prospect that when Republicans take control of the
House in January they may seek to permanently strip the agency
of its authority over emissions tied to global warming,
Rockefeller said.
"I'd rather have it now, this year," Rockefeller said.

EPA Guidance

The EPA issued guidance last week letting states determine
on a case-by-case basis the "best available control
technology" that companies should use to limit the carbon-
dioxide pollution that contributes to climate change. Energy
efficiency probably will emerge as the most cost-effective
approach, the agency said in an e-mailed statement.
The rules fall short of legislation sought by a coalition
of environmental groups and companies such as American Electric
Power Co., the biggest U.S. producer of power from coal, and
DuPont Co., the third-biggest U.S. chemical maker. A "cap-and-
trade" bill limiting carbon pollution and establishing a market
in pollution allowances stalled this year in the Senate after a
version passed the House in June 2009.
"The big packages with pretty bows are not on the radar
right now," said Beinecke, 61 who has been president of the New
York-based environmental group since 2006. "The big fix is very
challenging, but the incremental steps still are very much ahead
of us, and that's where we're going to focus."

Air, Water Quality

Most Americans want government to move forward with
measures to improve air and water quality, Beinecke said. This
month's elections that handed control of the House to
Republicans and produced victories by several candidates who
deny that humans are contributing to climate change shouldn't be
seen as a vote against the environment, she said. Democrats will
still hold a majority in the Senate.
"The American public continues to be deeply committed to
the environment," Beinecke said. "People do not expect to go
back to polluted air." For Obama, "holding firm, moving
forward in the areas that he has authority to do so will be very
Politics and the recession were to blame for the Senate's
failure to pass a cap-and-trade law, Beinecke said.
Rockefeller, who wrote legislation to delay the EPA's
carbon regulations for two years, has said the agency's case-by-
case approach will make it harder for companies to build or
expand their operations.
The administration is facing lawsuits over the pending
rules, which were crafted after EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson
declared greenhouse gases a public threat last year. The
"endangerment finding" followed a 2007 Supreme Court ruling
stating that EPA had the power to regulate carbon emissions as a
pollutant under the 1970 Clean Air Act.
Texas has challenged the EPA's rules and told the agency in
August that it doesn't plan to comply with them.

For Related News and Information:
Carbon Markets: EMIS <GO>
Top Environmental Markets News: TOP ENV <GO>
News about the EPA: NI EPA <GO>
News about the White House and climate change:
Northeast U.S. trading: RGGI <GO>

--Editors: Larry Liebert, Steve Geimann

To contact the reporter on this story:
Jim Efstathiou Jr. in New York at +1-212-617-1647 or

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Larry Liebert at +1-202-624-1936 or