U.S. EPA confirmed in September that it again would miss a September 30, 2011 deadline to propose new source performance standards to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing power plants. The September 30 deadline arose from a settlement of a lawsuit brought in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by 11 states, the District of Columbia, the City of New York, and three environmental groups. That suit sought to compel EPA to issue new source performance standards for greenhouse gas emissions from power plants in light of the Supreme Court's decision in Massachusetts v. EPA.
Under the settlement, EPA originally agreed to propose such a rule by July 28, 2011, but later negotiated an extension to September 30. EPA now says, however, that it needs more time to propose the standards. Despite missing this deadline, EPA has not proposed a new date by which it will issue the proposed rule and has not yet requested (or indicated whether it will request) an extension of the settlement's May 26, 2012 deadline for issuing the final rule.
EPA's failure to issue the proposed greenhouse gas standards comes amid a hostile political climate on such issues. Earlier this month, President Obama announced that EPA would abandon plans to reconsider the Bush administration's National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone, in an effort to reduce regulatory uncertainty during the economic recovery. Industry groups and conservative members of Congress have similarly criticized recently promulgated greenhouse gas regulations and similar rules under development, such as the power plant standards, as hindering the country's job growth.