Supreme Court Puts Obama's Key Climate Initiative on 'Hold'

In an unusual move that doesn't portend well for the EPA initiative, the Supreme Court ruled that the Clean Power Plan Rule that reduces emissions from existing power plants be suspended while it is heard by the Court of Appeals this summer.

2 minute read

February 10, 2016, 10:00 AM PST

By Irvin Dawid

In a 5-4 ruling, "Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. [...] issued an unusual emergency order that blocks the Environmental Protection Agency from moving forward with its effort to reduce carbon pollution from [existing] power plants by 32% by 2030," writes Supreme Court reporter David G. Savage for the Los Angeles Times.

It is rare for the high court to intervene in a case pending in the lower courts. The brief order suggests that most of the justices have doubts about the legality of the EPA's policy.

A former Justice Department attorney [called it] a significant blow to the EPA and the administration’s climate change plan.

The Clean Power Plan rule was criticized by 29 states and state agencies who requested the stay, claiming that the plan was an overreach of the president's use of executive authority. 

The order halting implementation of the Clean Power Plan rule "could also be a sign that conservative justices are increasingly skeptical of Obama’s use of executive authority," notes Savage. In a related article that deals with immigration, Savage writes that the Supreme Court will "render a verdict on his use of his executive authority." 

“Make no mistake: This is a great victory for West Virginia,” said the state's attorney general, Patrick Morrisey in a press release.

“We are thrilled that the Supreme Court realized the rule’s immediate impact and froze its implementation, protecting workers and saving countless dollars as our fight against its legality continues.” West Virginia and Texas led the coalition of states challenging the EPA regulations.

The Sierra Club's press release was optimistic that the court would ultimately uphold the rule.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016 in Los Angeles Times

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