The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday will announce tough rules for new coal power plants, including imposing carbon-emissions limits for the first time, according to a report from the Associated Press.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is set to unveil the limits on new plants in a speech.
The move represents a bold step for the administration in its efforts to address climate change, a key second term priority for President Obama.
But industry leaders have vowed to contest the new EPA regulations, which they say will be too costly and prevent the building of new plants.
To capture and store carbon emissions under the new rule, plants must install expensive new technology.
McCarthy has defended the rules ahead of their unveiling in Congress.
The move also sets the stage for rules on existing power plants, which EPA must announce by June 2014.
Coal accounts for 40 percent of U.S. electricity production, and Republicans along with many red state Democrats have accused the president of waging a “war” on coal.
McCarthy in an interview earlier this year rejected those claims.
“We don’t have a war on coal,” she told the New York Times. “We’re doing our business, which is to reduce pollution. We’re following the law.”
President Obama has relied on executive agencies to bypass Congress on many key measures which face opposition from GOP lawmakers and industry groups in his climate push.
Green groups though have applauded those measures, which they see as fulfilling Obama's pledge to act on climate change.