Congress could likely provide polluters more flexibility and incentives than regulators acting under the Clean Air Act that was authored four decades ago.
But Waxman, who co-authored the sweeping climate bill that narrowly passed the House in 2009 but died in the Senate, said Republicans would not be interested.
The 2009 bill won support from some industry groups, including the Edison Electric Institute that represents for-profit utilities, although industry groups and companies lined up on both sides and it drew powerful opposition.
“That bill was backed by some of the major industries in this country, and I thought Republicans would be more sensitive to the business community,” Waxman said. “Instead they are more sensitive to ideological, right-wing, Tea Party people.”
A centerpiece of the White House’s second-term plan is completing Environmental Protection Agency carbon emissions standards for both new and existing power plants, an effort certain to draw litigation. But Waxman predicted Obama's plan would come to fruition.
“I think the president has thought it through, he has given enough time . . . to accomplish what he wants to accomplish,” Waxman said.
“They left time open for litigation,” he said.