"The states are under assault by this administration," Perry said.
Obama must walk a fine line, not alienating the environmentalists who helped him get elected, but also courting independents who at times share the GOP's concern about environmental regulations' toll on the economy and jobs.
"EPA's come under a lot of heat in the last year, so it's great to see the president give a morale boost and say he is going to stand with those that stand up to polluters," Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said in an interview.
In a prelude to the fights that loom ahead, an association of coal-fired power producers issued a statement in advance of Obama's visit.
"The EPA's actions are not a cause for celebration," Evan Tracey of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity said. "The government should be helping Americans get back to work, not patting themselves on the back for regulations that will put more Americans out of work."
Associated Press writers Brian Bakst in South Carolina and Shannon McCaffrey in New Hampshire contributed to this report.
Follow Dina Cappiello on Twitter: (at)dinacappiello
Follow Ken Thomas on Twitter: (at)AP_Ken_Thomas
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