Political Climate: Carbon-Dating Points to November

This is a convenient time for a certain truth, the way some see it:

While critics warn of the costs involved in the Obama administration’s roll-out today of regulations aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions from power-plants by 30 percent, the Environmental Protection Agency says the economy actually will benefit from the push for cleaner energy by 2030.

“We can raise the common denominator for a cleaner, low-carbon economy that’ll fuel growth for decades to come,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy was saying today in Washington. “There are still special interest skeptics who cry the sky is falling. They deliberately ignore the risks, overestimate the costs and undervalue the benefits.”

This is likely to be one of those days when the facts may take some time to catch up with the rhetoric, as the political climate for the White House’s power-plant rules is fraught with midterm election fever.

As senators from coal-producing states warn of “a war on coal,” allies are lined up in defense of the industry as well.

Because this is only the start of a long rule-making process that will involve public hearings and probably lawsuits as well, the debate over the political impact of the administration’s action will carry into the 2014 midterm elections in which Republicans hope to claim control of the Senate. And the president’s words about the potential costs of actions such as “cap and trade” from elections past will be replayed as well.

The White House, for one, is ready for this debate:

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