In Obama’s climate speech Tuesday, he offered a rousing defense of pollution standards, practically cribbing from this post I wrote in 2009. (Be still my heart!) As expected, he called for the EPA to regulate carbon from both new and existing power plants. But he offered no detail, and nothing in his remarks addressed the stringency of the power-plant rules, which is the heart of the matter.

Nonetheless, we now know a couple of things about the coming regs that we didn’t know before.

First, the timing. As promised in the climate plan [PDF] the White House released, Obama has issued a presidential memorandum instructing EPA to develop power-plant standards. It contains a specific timeline:

  • September 2013: Due date for a revised proposal for new-plant standards. (EPA proposed some more than a year ago but recently went back to the drawing board over concerns about legal vulnerability.)
  • June 2014: Due date for a proposal for existing-plant standards.
  • June 2015: Due date for finalized existing-plant standards.
  • June 2016: Date by which states should be required to submit implementation plans.

As I said yesterday, EPA has blown through more than a few deadlines over the years, so these new ones may not mean much. The only deadline that really matters is getting them done while Obama’s still in office.