State and local governments often have authority but lack the resources and political will to enforce pollution rules.
A draft proposal from North Carolina officials to comply with a federal rule on coal ash represents the “bare minimum required,” according to at least one critic, for a state that considers itself a leader on the issue.
The elixir for climate regulations has long been, for many utilities, the promise of piping carbon dioxide emissions underground.
Many analysts agree that the 2012 bottoming out of gas prices is not a long-term trend and that rising demand for gas will drive prices higher in the coming years, helping coal to regain some of its lost market share.
If President Obama’s climate road map goes into force as planned, the EPA will be tasked with crafting power plant rules that match the uneven terrain of different states’ previous efforts to cut carbon.