Yesterday, by a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay of the Obama Administration’s “Clean Power Plan,” regulations promulgated to limit CO2 emissions from the electric power sector. A coalition of 27 states is challenging the regulations in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia; this is the first time the Supreme Court has stayed a regulation before the Court of Appeals completed its review. The Supreme Court’s Order issuing the stay says it will remain in effect until the Court of Appeals has ruled on the coalition’s challenge, and if the coalition subsequently petitions the Supreme Court to consider the regulations, when the Supreme Court has either denied that petition or granted the petition and issued its own decision. As a result, the regulations likely will not become effective, if ever, before the President leaves office. As previously discussed on this blog, the Clean Power Plan is designed to reduce CO2 emissions from fossil-fueled power plants by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, and each state has individual emission goals.
On Monday, President Obama and the EPA unveiled the final version of the Clean Power Plan, a rule that will reduce carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants. Assuming the Clean Power Plan survives an expected avalanche of legal challenges, the rule will reduce CO2 emissions from power plants by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. The 32 percent target is higher than the 30 percent target in the 2014 proposed rule, and individual state goals were not adjusted equally to achieve this higher target creating clear winners and losers. For example, Kentucky’s final emission rate goal is 27% lower than what the EPA proposed for Kentucky in 2014 and Indiana’s final emission rate goal is 19% lower, while Mississippi’s final emission rate goal is 37% higher and Tennessee’s final goal is 4% higher than the proposed rule. Another big change is that states will have two more years – until 2022 instead of 2020 – to start meeting emission-reduction requirements. The final rule also places more emphasis on Continue reading EPA Finalizes the Clean Power Plan