GHG Emissions, Regulation, Regulation - April 11, 2017
States file to oppose Trump's halt of Clean Power Plan
Led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a coalition of 24 U.S. states and localities has formally filed opposition to the Trump administration's request to delay court proceedings regarding the U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
"The law is clear: the EPA must limit carbon pollution from power plants," Attorney General Schneiderman said in a statement April 5. "In order to repeal Obama-era protections, the Trump Administration must replace those protections, as well — and we know how well repeal-and-replace went the first time around. My office will continue to defend the Clean Power Plan and aggressively oppose any effort to stand down from our shared responsibility to protect our environment and our climate."
The move signals that the legal battle over the plan will continue under the new administration. The U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay on the Clean Power Plan, which sought to curb carbon emissions from existing power plants, in early 2016, halting its implementation until further review. That decision came after 24 states filed a lawsuit against the regulations shortly after they were published in 2015 by the then Obama-led EPA.
On March 29, a day after President Donald Trump signed an executive order directing the EPA to review the Clean Power Plan and decide whether to "suspend, rescind, or revise" it, the EPA filed a motion asking the court to hold the litigation in abeyance while it reconsiders the rule.
The coalition said April 5 that granting abeyance likely would stay the litigation for years, indefinitely delaying the implementation of the Clean Power Plan, which the group said is "critical to mitigating climate change's increasing harm to states' public health, environments, and economies."
The states and localities stated in the filing:
EPA fails to justify its unprecedented request for an open-ended abeyance at this late stage of litigation: more than six months after the en banc Court heard a full day of oral argument. This case is ripe for decision now, and nothing that EPA has proposed to do obviates the need for this Court's review. To the contrary, a decision from this Court will resolve critical live disputes over the scope of the Clean Air Act that will not only determine the enforcement of the Clean Power Plan, but also affect any reconsideration or revision of the Rule that EPA may undertake. By contrast, indefinitely deferring a decision here, as EPA requests, would waste the substantial resources already expended in this litigation by the parties and this Court. Moreover, granting EPA's motion would prejudice State Intervenors' longstanding and compelling interest in addressing the largest sources of pollution that is causing climate-change harms now.
The opposition was filed by the Attorneys General of New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, the District of Columbia, and Washington State as well as the chief legal officers of New York City, Boulder, Colo., Chicago, Philadelphia, South Miami and Broward County, Fla.
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