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Supreme Court puts Clean Power Plan on hold

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The Clean Power Plan establishes America’s first ever national limits on carbon pollution from power plants. By 2030, when it’s fully implemented, the Clean Power Plan will reduce carbon pollution from the power sector to 32% below 2005 levels. It is also expected to save 3600 lives and prevent 90 000 childhood asthma attacks each year, while saving average American families almost US$85 on annual energy bills.

Opponents launched multiple legal attacks against the Clean Power Plan, which began before the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finished writing it. After the D.C. Circuit Court reviewed and denied motions to stay the Clean Power Plan, and set an expedited schedule to hear lawsuits on its merits, opponents asked the US Supreme Court to overturn the lower court’s decision and grant an emergency stay. On 9 February, the Supreme Court granted those requests by a 5 to 4 vote.

Industry commentary


“Today’s court decision is unfortunate but does not reflect a decision on the merits. The D.C. Circuit court will carry out a careful and expeditious review of the merits over the next few months. The Clean Power Plan has a firm anchor in our nation’s clean air laws and a strong scientific record, and we look forward to presenting our case on the merits in the courts,” said Vickie Patton, General Counsel for Environmental Defense Fund, which is a party to the case. “EDF believes the merits phase of the case can be argued, and decided, quickly – while Americans in red and blue states alike work together to protect our families and communities from the clear and present danger of climate change.”


"The Court's rare move confirms the legal vulnerability of EPA’s controversial Clean Power Plan. The stay protects consumers from higher electricity costs and states from being irreparably harmed by being forced to implement a rule that exceeds EPA’s statutory authority. We are confident that the D.C. Circuit will recognise the extreme extent to which this rule oversteps the bounds of EPA’s authority and step in to protect consumers by overturning this rule," said AFPM President Chet Thompson.

Adapted from press released by Rosalie Starling

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