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Obama to unveil climate package in July

Proposals aimed at opponents of Keystone pipeline

Activists protested in New York Friday outside a fund-raiser attended by President Obama.Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — With his administration under pressure from environmentalists to reject the Keystone XL pipeline project, President Obama plans to unveil a package of separate actions next month focused on curbing US greenhouse gas emissions.

At closed-door fund-raisers held over the past few weeks, the president has been telling Democratic party donors that he will unveil new climate proposals in July, according to people who have attended the events or been briefed.

Obama’s promise frequently comes in response to pleas from donors to reject TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Keystone XL project, a $5.3 billion pipeline that would carry tar-sands oil from Canada to US refineries. Opponents of the pipeline say it would increase greenhouse-gas emissions by encouraging use of the tar sands.


While Obama has not detailed the specifics of his plan to the donors, pipeline opponents anticipate the package will include a plan from the Environmental Protection Agency to issue final rules to limit greenhouse-gas emissions from new power plants.

In April, the EPA delayed issuing the rule after the electric-power industry objected on legal and technical grounds. Since then, the agency has been rewriting the rule to address those concerns.

The White House plan may also include a standard for limits on existing power plants, something EPA officials have said they expect to propose in the next 18 months.

Final decisions about the specific policies included in the president’s package are still being made, according to a person close to the White House.

Speaking to donors in Palo Alto, Calif., last week, Obama called the need for action on climate change one of the ‘‘most important decisions’’ facing the country.

‘‘We’re not going to be able to make those changes solely through a bunch of individual decisions,’’ he said at a June 6 event hosted by Flipboard chief executive Mike McCue. ‘‘Government is going to have a role to play.’’


With Congress unlikely to take up a climate bill, the plans largely focus on actions the president can take with his existing executive authority. Internally, White House officials have been soliciting ideas for administrative actions that can be taken to curb greenhouse gases.

White House officials didn’t reply to a request for comment.

Administration aides, however, hinted earlier this week that more action may be coming soon.

Climate advocates have urged the president to move quickly and release plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Any climate proposal released by the White House could be overshadowed politically by the controversy over the Keystone XL pipeline.