While there's virtually no chance of meaningful climate legislation passing through Congress, there are meaningful climate actions that the Obama administration can take on its own. Two big ones would be regulating carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants and from existing power plants.
But the administration is dragging its feet on both counts. A draft regulation for new plants was proposed more than a year ago, but the EPA missed a deadline this past Saturday for making it final. "EPA is likely to alter the rule in some way in an effort to make sure it can withstand a legal challenge," The Washington Post reported on Friday, noting that the agency has not set a timetable for its finalization.
As for regulation of old power plants -- which spew about one third of U.S. greenhouse gases -- an EPA official said last week that the agency intends to propose a standard within 18 months.
Ten states, two major cities, and three big green groups are fed up with the delays. On Wednesday, they gave notice of their intent to sue. From the Los Angeles Times: