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President Obama made an ambitious promise Tuesday to bring the Gulf Coast’s habitat back to health.

How and when that will be happen is another matter.

The White House could offer almost no details Wednesday about the “Gulf Coast Restoration Plan” pledged by the president in his Oval Office address. Experts, meanwhile, said any meaningful plan to restore a region damaged by decades of poor industrial planning, frequent hurricanes and now the oil spill could cost as much as $30 billion over the next 15 to 20 years. Such a sum would dwarf the country’s largest environmental restoration project so far — the $12 billion plan for the Florida Everglades.

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