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EPA delays climate change rules for power plants

The Environmental Protection Agency says it will postpone issuing new rules for cutting carbon emissions from power plants until the summer.  After receiving about 4 million comments on the proposals for new, existing and modified power plants, the agency says it needs more time to consider public input and incorporate overlapping issues among the three proposals. Janet McCabe, acting administrator for air and radiation at the EPA, says incorporating public input is a top priority.

“And since last year we have been following through on President Obama’s directive to engage extensively with the broadest possible range of perspectives as we work to develop a plan to cut energy waste, strengthen the economy, and leverage cleaner energy sources,” said McCabe.

More from The Hill:

Officials had planned to finalize the carbon dioxide rule for new plants Thursday, following the one-year timeline dictated by the Clean Air Act. The existing and modified plant rules should have come June 2 under an order from President Obama.

“It’s become clear to us … that there are cross-cutting topics that affect the standards for new sources, for modified sources and for existing sources, and we believe it’s essential to consider these overlapping issues in a coordinated fashion,” Janet McCabe, the EPA’s acting administrator for air quality, told reporters Wednesday.

The rules together represent the most ambitious effort yet by the Obama administration to cut emissions of carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas believed to cause climate change.

McCabe says the agency is committed to working with states to develop their own ways to reach a targeted reduction in carbon emissions, and prefers states to be proactive instead of relying on a federal plan. But McCabe says the federal plan for states that do not comply with the new rules will also be ready by the summer. Republicans, including Governor Corbett, have been critical of Obama’s plan to cut carbon emissions. Several states have filed a lawsuit. Pennsylvania is not a party to that suit, and incoming Governor-elect Tom Wolf says he will comply with the new rules once issued.

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