Podesta confident that EPA rule on carbon emissions will stick

Future presidents are unlikely to undo the Obama administration's controversial rule to cut carbon emissions from power plants, even if they want to, presidential counselor John Podesta said Friday. Why not?

Michael Bonfigli/The Christian Science Monitor
Counselor to the President John Podesta speaks at the Monitor Breakfast for reporters on June 6, 2014 in Washington, DC.

White House counselor John Podesta aggressively defended the Obama administration's proposed rules for limiting carbon emissions from power plants during a breakfast hosted by The Christian Science Monitor in Washington on Friday.

“We’re committed to getting this done,” Mr. Podesta told reporters gathered at Washington’s St. Regis Hotel.

Claims by White House opponents that the rules will create massive job losses "have largely been debunked," Podesta said. "Every time that an environmental regulation has been put forward, the polluters say [the results will be] massive job losses, lights going off, electricity system crashing, bills going through the roof. They were wrong before, and they are wrong now."

Podesta also concluded that legal challenges to the rules are unlikely to be undone by any future Republican president, citing the fact that President George W. Bush was unsuccessful in overturning many environmental regulations put in place by his predecessor, President Bill Clinton. Under some circumstances, states will have until 2018 to file compliance plans. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) then has a full year to review the state plans.   

Even though some coal-state Democrats oppose the White House’s rules, Podesta predicted that the next president is likely to be supportive of the current president's latest climate-related moves.

“I’m fairly confident we’ll have a president who embraces the cause of tackling climate change and reducing emissions,” said Podesta, who served as Mr. Clinton’s chief of staff. “If you think about a challenge in the 2016 context and the politics of this in the 2016 context, if you’re a climate denier trying to run nationally I think you’re going to have a very hard row to hoe getting elected president of the United States.”

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