UPDATE 9/20/13 @ 10 a.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Environmental Protection Agency says global warming is one of the most significant public health threats of our time.
That's according to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. McCarthy is defending a plan to curb carbon pollution in a speech Friday morning. She says global warming is not just about melting glaciers.
The proposal is the first significant step in President Barack Obama's climate plan.
But the plan only deals with future power plants. That means there is a limit to how much it will dent the emissions blamed for global warming.
The existing fleet of power plants in the U.S. is the largest source of heat-trapping pollution. A proposal to deal with them is due next summer.
According to published reports, these changes would affect all new coal and natural gas plants, and local politicians say the new standards could be detrimental to the industry.
The changes will regulate what officials call "climate-change" emissions.
New plants would have to install special equipment to limit carbon dioxide emissions.
As of now, coal and natural gas plants answer to the same standard of the amount of emissions able to be released.
Yet, the EPA is pushing for separate standards in which coal mines will be under much stricter limits.
We talked to the West Virginia Coal Association President, Bill Rainey earlier in the week about a round of coal mining layoffs.
In that interview, he told us they are trying to stay hopeful about the future of coal, but it's not been easy.
"They just keep throwing barriers up from D.C. and we hope that, that relentless attack stops at some point," said Rainey.
This also comes after a round of layoffs in Eastern Kentucky where more than 500 miners lost their jobs, and WSAZ has reported more than 900 mining jobs lost within the past year.
However, some say that these regulations are a way for the EPA to move forward in "climate-changing" emissions.