By Timothy Cama

Supporters and opponents of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed carbon regulations for power plants talk about the benefits and costs as if enactment of the new standards is inevitable.

But there are still many steps that have to be taken at the federal and state level to meet the Obama administration’s goal of slashing power plants’ carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030.

And the path ahead is fraught with potential obstacles, as critics strive to weaken the regulations or scrap them entirely.

Here is a closer look at five of the greatest threats to President Obama’s landmark rule to fight climate change.

The Next President

If the EPA does not finalize the regulation and start certifying states’ implementation plans by the beginning of 2017, the next president could stop it from moving forward.

To Michael Greenstone, director of the University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute, that is the greatest threat to the climate rule.

“If that has not happened, if there are not finalized state implementation plans, then there is a risk the new president may feel differently,” Greenstone said.

The new president would have the same regulatory power as Obama, including repealing regulations. It’s too early to make educated predictions for the 2016 election, but it’s safe to expect that any Republican nominee would seek to dismantle it.

To avoid that, Greenstone recommended that Obama and the EPA work diligently to make the rule final, and work with states to implement it as quickly as possible.

“Someone’s got to march this across the finish line before the Obama administration leaves town,” he said.

The EPA plans to finalize the rule next June and start working on guidance for state plans soon thereafter.

Continue reading at the Hill…

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Areas of Focus: Climate Change
Climate Change
Climate change is an urgent global challenge. EPIC research is helping to assess its impacts, quantify its costs, and identify an efficient set of policies to reduce emissions and adapt...
Climate Law & Policy
Climate Law & Policy
As countries around the world implement policies to confront climate change, EPIC research is calculating which policies will have the most impact for the least cost.