The Environmental Protection Agency will debut draft regulations on Monday to cut carbon emissions from power plants 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, according to multiple sources briefed on the proposal.
The Wall Street Journal first reported details of the climate rule on Sunday, saying that EPA will seek a 25 percent overall carbon cut by 2020. It will ratchet that requirement up to 30 percent by 2030.
Another source cautioned, however, that the 30 percent reduction may be one of several targets proposed by the EPA.
The agency plans to set varying reduction targets by state. And states will be able to chose from a menu of options to comply. This includes adding renewable-power generation to the grid, spurring energy-efficiency gains, and implementing market-based approaches, such as cap-and-trade, to rein in emissions.
The rules ares expected to be finalized by June 2015, and states will have until June 2016 to submit plans for achieving the standard.
The regulations stand as the centerpiece of the administration's effort to address global warming. Once finalized, they will help shore up the president's legacy on climate change. The White House also hopes the rules will pave the way for the U.S. to extract substantial commitments from nations such as China and India to reduce carbon emissions.
EPA and the White House declined to comment on the report.
The regulations drew quick praise, however, from Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. "[This] will send a good signal to nations everywhere that one of the world's biggest emitters is taking the future of the planet and its people seriously," Figueres said.
Environmentalists see the regulations as a major step forward for domestic climate policy. And green groups are gearing up to win public support for the rules while simultaneously defending it on Capitol Hill. EPA was set to brief individuals from major environmental organizations Sunday night on the technical details of the proposal ahead of its official release.
The administration can also count on Democratic backing. According to a White House official, the president held a call with a group of Senate and House Democrats Sunday afternoon to thank them for their support.
But not everyone is a fan. Moderate Democrats facing a tough fight for reelection in the midterms, such as Sens. Mary Landrieu of Lousiana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, have previously voted to block EPA from regulating greenhouse-gas emissions.
And the regulations are sure to face a litany of legal challenges and legislative pushback.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized the climate rules on Sunday, saying the regs it will "destroy jobs and raise costs for families across America." The senator plans to introduce legislation next week to stop the regulations from taking effect. It is unlikely that McConnell will be able to secure enough votes to pass the bill in the Democratic-controlled chamber.