Barack Obama applied the brakes to the most critical component of his climate change plan on Tuesday, slowing the process of setting new rules cutting carbon pollution from power plants, and casting a shadow over a landmark United Nations’ summit on global warming.
The proposed power plant rules were meant to be the signature environmental accomplishment of Obama’s second term.
The threat of a delay in their implementation comes just one week before a heavily anticipated UN summit where officials had been looking to Obama to show leadership on climate change.
In a conference call with reporters, the Environmental Protection Agency said it was extending the public comment period on the power plant rules for an additional 45 days, until 1 December.
The delay follows heavy lobby by Republicans and industry lobby groups to delay the rule – or withdraw it outright. Fifteen governors had called on Obama and the EPA to withdraw the proposed regulations, which would cut carbon pollution from existing power plants.