Is the environmental Protection Agency’s schedule for proposing power plant greenhouse gas standards slipping yet again? It depends on your definition of “early.”

The agency has for months said the rules — which the White House is currently vetting — would be proposed “early” in 2012 after missing several earlier deadlines.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on Thursday told reporters that there’s no date yet for proposing the regulations, which would set first-time standards for new and modified power plants that run on coal, oil and natural gas.

Jackson said the “early” 2012 timeframe remains in effect, but asked when it will no longer be “early” 2012 anymore, she quipped, “you tell me.”

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