Wednesday the Obama administration is expected to announce a “sweeping regulation, which would aim at smog from power plants and factories across the country, particularly in the Midwest…”, a controversial regulation the opposition insists is the “most expensive regulation ever’.”
Both politically – and democratically-speaking, given the mid-term election results, Obama is arguably in a much weaker position that when he “blinked” on the regulation once before.
President Barack Obama has already blinked once on the rule, which aims to limit smog-creating ozone pollution from power plants and factories: Just before Labor Day in 2011, he forced the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw an almost-final version of the rule, infuriating green groups that accused him of capitulating to industry pressure to ease his reelection. Obama said he was acting to “underscore the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty.”
However, Obama isn’t expected to ever have to face voters, again, which may leave him emboldened at the very same time an ’emboldened’ GOP coming off a huge electorally controls both houses of Congress. As for the regulation itself, it’s much prized by the so called Green movement.
The proposed regulation would lower the current threshold for ozone pollution from 75 parts per billion to a range of 65 to 70 parts per billion, according to people familiar with the plan. That range is less stringent than the standard of 60 parts per billion sought by environmental groups, but the E.P.A. proposal would also seek public comment on a 60 parts-per-billion plan, keeping open the possibility that the final rule could be stricter.
The politics and economic impact of the regulation may be setting the stage for the Washington confrontation of, perhaps not all time, but at least the last six years. It may also go a long way to setting the stage for the dynamics between district Democrats and Republicans for the next two years.