Four months after pledging to lead the United States on a path to sustainable energy, President Barack Obama faces a turning point on electricity generated from coal, one of the dirtiest of fuels.
The White House was expected this week to finalize a rule to reduce emissions from all new coal-fired plants. But mixed signals on whether it will be enacted have led environmentalists to prepare litigation to force action.
The rule was due to be finalized April 13.
But the Environmental Protection Agency, in charge of crafting and implementing the rule change amid some hefty opposition from the coal industry, told AFP this week that there is no timeline for completing it.
The uncertainty underscores the difficulty in achieving the downsizing of coal-fired electricity that environmentalists say is needed to address climate change.