The Wall Street Journal reports:
The rules are almost certain to bring legal challenges, but even without that the process is lengthy. The Environmental Protection Agency must first complete rules for new power plants, which have been in the works since 2011. In draft form, those rules essentially blocked the construction of new coal-fired plants. Once the draft rules are finished, environmental lawyers say, the EPA would need until at least late 2014 to propose and make final rules for existing plants.
What’s more, the rules would be merely guidelines for states to draw up their own plans for restricting greenhouse gases. Allowing a year for that—plus more time for the EPA to rewrite state plans if it is dissatisfied with them—means the process could easily stretch out to the end of Mr. Obama’s second term and beyond.
In much the same way that states have opted out of some parts of Mr. Obama’s health-care law, states that have a rationale to resist new power-plant guidelines could push back against them, said Jeff Holmstead, a former top EPA official under President George W. Bush and now a partner at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP.
“EPA’s guidelines have no legal effect on any particular plant, and they don’t really legally bind the states,” Mr. Holmstead said.