The Coming Explosion on Power Plants Regs

A week from today, the Obama administration is unveiling its long-awaited regulations on carbon emissions from existing power plants. At TNR, Jonathan Cohn has an excellent primer on the subject–why the regs are being issued at this time, what they might accomplish, and which particular approach they might or might not adopt.

The one thing we can count on is a strong industry/conservative pushback. Obama will be accused of taking actions beyond his authority, of refusing to conduct a sufficiently careful cost-benefit analysis, of sacrificing lives and livelihoods to environmental abstractions, and even of hating people in Coal Country. The ferocity of reaction after such long anticipation may, in fact, be so programmed that it really doesn’t matter whether the administration is audacious or cautious in crafting these regs. I’m sure they have long since been placed in the can, but here’s hoping the president is as bold as possible next Monday. He will receive no political rewards for being careful or conciliatory, not on this subject.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.