Regardless of who takes the reins, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will likely face continued legal battles in President Barack Obama's second term as it tries to finalize pollution rules for power plants, analysts said.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, who spearheaded the Obama administration's regulation of carbon emissions, said on Thursday she will step down after almost four years.

Her tenure was marked by opposition from industry groups and Republican lawmakers to the EPA's first-ever crackdown on carbon emissions, as well as other anti-pollution measures.

Analysts said whoever succeeds Jackson will probably face a spate of lawsuits to challenge rules that the EPA will finalize governing power plants, industrial sources and oil and gas production.

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