A plume of exhaust extends from the Mitchell Power Station, a coal-fired power plant built along the Monongahela River, September 24, 2013 in New Eagle, Pennsylvania.
Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty

Obama planning executive action on carbon emissions


With the stroke of a pen, President Obama will take action Thursday to vastly reduce air pollution by cutting carbon emissions from coal plants by up to 20%.

This regulation will be the strongest climate change action ever taken by an American president, and it will help the administration accomplish its goal of reducing pollution over the next six years.

The new rule was written by the Environmental Protection Agency; it will be released on Monday at the White House, according to The New York Times. 

This move will undoubtedly be slammed by Republicans, who have criticized the president’s use of executive action as an overreach of power that circumvents the legislature. They will also likely criticize the regulation for hurting businesses, as this initiative could also shut down hundreds of coal-fired power plants across the country. 

The new regulation will set a national limit, The New York Times reports, but allow states to plan their own reductions by adding wind and solar power, increasing their energy efficiency, or through cap-and-trade programs, which essentially makes power plants pay to pollute the environment under a certain limit. 

The energy industry is already gearing up to fight the regulation, running ad campaigns that depict horrified consumers opening up pricey electricity bills.

Carbon emissions have actually dropped in recent years, thanks to the surge in natural gas, but government agencies warn of the havoc the country will see due to continued climate change.