Washington Republicans are decrying President Obama's plan to cut carbon emissions from energy plants 30 percent as a job and economy killer, but New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's EPA welcomed the move as the right thing to do--setting up a potential 2016 GOP presidential fight over green energy initatives.

New Jersey is among the hardest hit states in the Obama plan, with a demand for 43 percent reduction in emissions from fossil-fueled power plants by 2030. But state officials said less than 3 percent of the state’s electricity comes from coal plants.

According to an Associated Press report, New Jersey's Environmental Protection Department “welcomed Monday's announcement.” A spokesman told the AP that the state had already moved toward cleaner energy and had “beaten EPA target emissions rates for the past several years.”

Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, also of New Jersey, explained that the rules will help ease climate change.

The president’s emission plan has already become an issue in the 2014 midterm elections and is sure to fuel a fight over green policies in the upcoming 2016 presidential elections.

While Christie himself didn't comment to the AP, some likely GOP candidates did, including Sen. Rand Paul who said, "This latest assault on our economy by President Obama will destroy jobs here in Kentucky and across the country, and will hurt middle class families by hiking their utility bills and straining their budgets.” He added that "The excessive rule is an illegal use of executive power and I will force a vote to repeal it."

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.