2014-05-23T110433Z_1_CBREA4M0URO00_RTROPTP_2_USA-OBAMA-VETERANS

In big public push, White House seeks to smooth way for carbon curbs

U.S. President Obama makes a statement to the press after meeting with Veteran Affairs Secretary Shinseki at the White House in WashingtonBy Valerie Volcovici WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Last month, Washington’s top environment advocate went to the Cleveland Clinic to talk about how President Barack Obama’s landmark efforts to crack down on power-plant carbon emissions would ease a range of respiratory illnesses. Speaking separately to historically black Morehouse College in Atlanta in April, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy also framed proposed new rules in terms of social justice, as poor black communities are disproportionately affected by air pollution. The meetings, and hundreds more like them over the past year, mark an unprecedented campaign by the White House and the EPA to win broad public and state backing for rules expected to come June 2 to limit for the first time carbon emissions from power plants, which are the biggest source of greenhouse gases. Both the message and the method reflect a conscious effort to avoid the problems that two years ago nearly sank Obama’s health care reform, another contentious policy milestone that will become an indelible part of his legacy, according to officials and sources familiar with the process.

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