Rolling out such regulations is complex, and the Environmental Protection Agency is notorious for missing deadlines. There’s little wiggle room for delay in the process, as laid out in an executive order Obama signed last year:
— In early June, the EPA is supposed to propose the overall rule, known as a draft.
— Then there’s a full year in which the public can comment, the EPA reviews those comments and makes any revisions before finalizing in June 2015.
— States then have another full year to submit their implementation plans, by June 2016.
— The EPA must then review each plan individually before deciding whether to accept it or force a state back to the drawing board. Expect litigation — especially in Republican-led states that oppose the rules to begin with.
— Obama’s presidency ends soon after, in January 2017.
White House officials declined to say whether Democratic candidates or lawmakers have reached out to the White House’s political office to ask for the rules to be delayed until after the election. Obama plans to play an active role in promoting the change by speaking about it once it’s released, officials said.
Meanwhile, conservative groups are ready to attack. The American Energy Alliance, which has spent more than $1 million on television criticizing Obama’s energy policies and candidates who support them, said it’s more than likely the emissions rules will wind up in the group’s ads this year.
“It wouldn’t matter when they were coming out, but it just so happens to be an election year as well,” said Tom Pyle, the group’s president. “That’s not something that’s gone unnoticed by us.”
AP Director of Polling Jennifer Agiesta contributed to this report.
Reach Josh Lederman at http://twitter.com/joshledermanAP