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The Obama administration is expected to advance major changes to energy and environmental laws in the next four years. There is already a backlog of pending legislation and proposed regulation to work through, and both environmental and industry groups will press for major reforms.

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President Obama saved his first mention of climate change during his re-election campaign for his acceptance speech on the night of Nov. 6. While his silence on the topic preceding that remark caused consternation among some in the environmental community, with his re-election there is little doubt that EPA will proceed with the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions under existing provisions of the federal Clean Air Act. EPA’s rules requiring controls on greenhouse gases in air permits for the construction and operation of major sources were upheld last summer by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. In the next few months, EPA is expected to finalize new source performance standards limiting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, and to propose similar regulations for refineries. EPA is required to act on both of these rules under settlement agreements with several states and environmental groups.

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