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Liberal Dem: EPA should flex its powers on climate change

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Proponents of efforts to counter the effects of climate change are signaling a shift in their strategy, opting to abandon another run at comprehensive legislation in favor of a renewed push to tackle the issue through federal regulations.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Ca.) on Tuesday urged the Environmental Protection Agency to make the most of its power to draft rules that would tamp down on carbon emissions from existing power plants.

“I think Sandy was a turning point in terms of the public’s sense of the extent of damage that climate change can do to this country,” Boxer told reporters Tuesday. “A lot of people don’t recognize that EPA has huge authority here to reduce carbon in the air.”

Boxer, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, said she had no immediate plans to re-introduce a sweeping “cap-and-trade” bill that fell six votes short of passage in the upper chamber in 2008. Opponents called the bill an energy tax that would further stifle the struggling national economy.

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