Court Halts EPA’s Clean Power Plan

Posted February 11, 2016 at 6:16 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court took the unusual step of blocking the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan even before the rule has been argued before an appellate court, casting doubt on the viability of the carbon dioxide standards for power.

On Feb. 9, the court ordered a halt on implementation of the Clean Power Plan until the case is heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and through any subsequent Supreme Court consideration.

The plan would have significant revisions to the Clean Air Act impacting the laundry industry.

The Supreme Court's five Republican appointees all voted in favor of the stay, while the justices appointed by Democratic presidents opposed the petitions.

The Supreme Court's unusual decision indicates the EPA's rule could be in jeopardy as it heads to the courts.

The fact that Justice Anthony Kennedy and Chief Justice John Roberts agreed to stay the rule is a huge signal that the court might ultimately overturn it.

Should the D.C. Circuit uphold the rule, the stay is indicative that the court is likely to want to hear this case.

Among the court's criteria for granting the stay are demonstrating that allowing the rule to go into effect during litigation would impose immediate and irreparable harms and that petitioners are likely to prevail on the merits of their arguments. States and utilities had argued that even though the carbon dioxide reductions do not take effect until 2022, they must begin expending resources and begin making business decisions now in order for states to submit their initial compliance plans to the EPA by Sept. 6.