Friday, January 22, 2016

Federal Appeals Court:  Clean Power Plan Can Proceed

A federal appeals court Thursday said the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan can be implemented while states challenge it in court. (Photo Credit: Getty Images) Click to Enlarge.
A federal appeals court refused Thursday to block Obama administration regulations aimed at reducing power plant pollution while a legal battle wages on.

The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was a victory for environmentalists and a defeat for states challenging the Environmental Protection Agency regulations in court.

The so-called Clean Power Plan is a cornerstone of President Obama's climate change initiative, now incorporated into the recently signed United Nations climate agreement.  It aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants 32% from 2005 levels over the next 15 years.

"We are pleased that the court has rejected petitioners' attempts to block the Clean Power Plan from moving forward while litigation proceeds," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.  "We are confident that the plan will reduce carbon pollution and deliver better air quality, improved public health, and jobs across the country."

Twenty-four states are seeking to have the regulations overturned in court and had sought to block implementation in the meantime.  Their lawsuit, filed in October after the new rule went into effect, says it is "arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and not in accordance with law."

The appeals court's ruling Thursday said the states "have not satisfied the stringent requirements for a stay pending court review."  But the court did set an ambitious timetable for the case, with oral arguments slated for June 2.

Obama last month vetoed two congressional resolutions of disapproval, aimed at rescinding different sets of regulations on new and existing power plants.

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