Obama Ties Keystone Approval to Climate Impact

Obama Ties Keystone Approval to Climate Impact

President Barack Obama said Tuesday the controversial Keystone XL pipeline should be approved only if it doesn't "exacerbate" carbon pollution, as he unveiled a sweeping new plan to tackle climate change.

In a closely watched speech at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Mr. Obama also said he would direct the Environmental Protection Agency to create carbon standards for both new and existing power plants, one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.

"The planet is warming and human activity is contributing to it," Mr. Obama said. He continued that "the question now is whether we will have the courage to act before it's too late."

On Keystone, Mr. Obama said the pipeline's climate impact would critical to determining if it goes forward. Environmentalists oppose the pipeline because they fear it could lead to damaging spills of heavy crude, and because they fear it would drive the full development of Canada's oil sands, which produce more greenhouse gases than regular crude during extraction.

Mr. Obama called climate change a pressing issue that "demands our attention now."

The announcement on power plants was immediately embraced by environmental groups, which have pressed the Obama administration to regulate coal-fired power plants that are already in operation, some of which are decades old.

EPA proposed a rule in 2012 to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants that virtually eliminated the possibility that new coal-fired plants would be built. The EPA has not yet finalized that rule and some in the power sector believe the agency will have to make significant changes to the rule before doing so.

New rules from the EPA to address existing power plants will serve as a key component of Mr. Obama's climate-change plan but are likely to face both legal and political challenges. Republicans argue that the Clean Air Act was not designed to regulate carbon dioxide, but rather other harmful emissions.

In 2009, the EPA determined that greenhouse gases were harmful to human health and the environment--a finding that now serves as the bedrock for future action on addressing carbon-dioxide emissions.

Mr. Obama said critics of his plan may warn of his lost jobs and economic damages. He said these were "tired excuses for inaction."

Keith Johnson contributed to this article.

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.


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Generated by readers, the comments included herein do not reflect the views and opinions of Rigzone. All comments are subject to editorial review. Off-topic, inappropriate or insulting comments will be removed.
Paula Guerrero | Jun. 28, 2013
We need to act very fast in this matter because we are getting to the no return point...the existing power plants need regulations, but I think this regulations already exist...this is more a matter of political issues than anything else!!!!

James | Jun. 25, 2013
A socialist like Obama could care less about jobs, growth or energy independence. He is all about controlling our lives from every angle possible. What a lose for the country and what a looser for a President.

kehua | Jun. 25, 2013
I thought the `man` would be better informed on the current scientific view regarding the carbon dioxide myth.

randy | Jun. 25, 2013
Carbon Dioxide is not “pollution”. On top of that, only 0.01% of voters in a national Gallup poll during the last election listed “global warming” as a major voting issue. The “climate agenda” (globalwarmingism) is a tragic DISTRACTION from the real issues impacting the environment worldwide: 1) Habitat Destruction/Fragmentation 2) Poaching 3) Pollution Shame on Obama and shame on all the PHONY, self-proclaimed “environmentalists” who have hijacked the global wildlife conservation and environmental movement for themselves, to promote their unpopular anti-carbon agenda. Do these people know or care how many species VANISH every minute, as they WASTE our time ranting about climate, as rain forests continue to be eradicated, lands continue to be bulldozed, and roads continue to be cut into the heart of Wilderness? No. And meanwhile, global temperatures have not risen in 20 years. Wake up, people: 1) Habitat Destruction 2) Poaching 3) Pollution Nothing. Else. Matters.

Phil Laudicina | Jun. 25, 2013
I have been saying all along that Obamas agenda was to cripple the fossil fuel industry thus collapsing the US economy. Now he is going to use dictatorial powers to kill tens of thousands of jobs and grossly raise the cost of living for millions of low income and middle class Americans by sky-rocketing electricity rates. Just as he promised hed do in 2008. It wont stop with coal. Shale oil drilling (fracking) and offshore drilling are next. In the meantime, 1200 coal fired plants are being constructed worldwide, more than half of which are in India and China. So if greenhouse gases were so dangerous, why are these plants being built? Because this climate change stuff is a giant HOAX.


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