After their earlier request for a stay of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) was rejected in a lower court, a group of 27 U.S. states, state agencies and groups are now petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the implementation of the restrictive regulations on the grounds of governmental overreach.
The coalition, which includes states such as Wyoming, West Virginia, Ohio and Texas, along with the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others, is arguing that the CPP, introduced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “upends state authority, increases electricity prices and violates numerous aspects of federal law,” according to one of the main motivators in the movement, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrissey. “The EPA lacks authority to force such radical change,” he said. “Congress soundly rejected this proposal once, and we urge EPA to withdraw the rule now as implementation would devastate countless jobs, increase utility costs and jeopardize the nation’s energy grid.”
At the heart of the EPA plan is a reduction by 2030 in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by 32% versus 2005 levels, as well as a push for the use of more renewables and less coal.
Murray Energy, which has filed a total of six lawsuits against the EPA related to the CPP, said it was disappointed that an immediate stay was not issued.
Chicago-based nonprofit the Heartland Institute, which oversees the Center on Climate and Environment Policy, concurred. “If ever a case existed for the courts to intervene with equitable relief—in this case, a stay of the lower court’s ruling—it is here, where the jobs of the people, the nation’s ability to meet its energy needs, and a coherent environmental and energy policy are at stake, and a refusal to grant the stay becomes effectively irreversible.
Michael Nasi, general counsel for Balanced Energy for Texas, pointed out that, while the decision is disappointing, it is a “procedural decision” and not a reflection on how the courts—including the U.S. Supreme Court, where this case will now be heard—will see the merits of the position the coalition holds.
“We remain confident that the courts will ultimately rule in favor of the 27 states and countless industry groups who have filed more than 15 separate cases against the rules. The Clean Power Plan is an unprecedented overreach of the EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act, as noted in the congressional disapproval of the rule that passed in the House and Senate with strong majorities.”