Reversing a lower court, on February 9th the Supreme Court took the unusual step of blocking implementation of EPA’s landmark Carbon Power Plan (CPP) rule for existing power plants. While it is no guarantee that the Supreme Court will overturn the rule, traditionally the Courts have given deference to the agencies on matters like these.
Twenty Seven states, mining companies, coal dependent utilities and allied industries are among those suing to reverse the rule. In general, the various lawsuits allege the EPA overstepped its authority under the Clean Air Act.
The stay of implementation could delay the CPP long enough to place it squarely on the next Administration to decide the future course of action. If Republicans win in November, the outlook is likely to be decidedly different than if Democrats retain the White House.
The case, which is being expedited, will be heard by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals this summer, with a decision expected in late 2016 or early 2017. An appeal of that decision could likely be in time for the Supreme Court’s 2017 session.