Appeals Court Ruling Favors Trump—Strike Two Against Clean Power Plan

An appeals court on Friday granted the Trump Administration's request to suspend lawsuits on the Clean Power Plan, dealing a major blow against President Obama's signature climate initiative to reduce carbon emissions from existing plants.
May 2, 2017, 2pm PDT | Irvin Dawid
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Evanna Chung

With the signing on March 28 of the president's executive order, "Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth," the rollback of the Clean Power Plan was set in motion. The first step was to "get permission from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, where the rule is tied up in litigation, to revisit the matter," notes the post on the signing of the order.

That critical step was taken by the court on April 28, when it stayed "litigation against the Environmental Protection Agency rule for 60 days," report Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis for The Washington Post.

Opponents of the Obama-era rule, which sought to impose the first-ever federal limits on existing power plants, hailed the decision.

“The D.C. Circuit has done the right thing,” David Rivkin, a constitutional lawyer who represented the 28 states that sued over the regulation, said in an interview. “It is indeed the death knell of the Clean Power Plan.

According to statements in the article by the Sierra Club and Environmental Defense Fund, both parties in the court case supporting the rule, all is not lost.

Eilperin and Dennis note some good news for the environmental community on a different regulation affecting power plant emissions. They note that the March 28 executive order also instructed EPA to rewrite the 2015 rule known as the “Carbon Pollution Standard for New Power Plants" and for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to ask the D.C. Circuit to suspend litigation against that rule. 

However, since the Supreme Court's emergency order in February 2016 did not suspend that rule, it remains in effect.

Correspondent's note: As Planetizen's editor posted in February, "Changes in Environmental Policy Already Apparent on the EPA Website," you, the reader, may soon become aware of them if you haven't already.

For example, EPA's link for the aforementioned "Carbon Pollution Standard for New Power Plants," introduced in 2013 and also described here, now directs readers to the March 28 Executive Order, which calls for a review of the Clean Power Plan, even though the rule remains in effect, as The Post's reporters explained. 

Sadly, Planetizen may need to rely on outside sources, like Wikipedia or the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) – "an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to forge practical solutions to climate change," for explanations of EPA rules, such as the Carbon Pollution Standard for New Power Plants. But be forewarned, because links within C2ES' description direct readers to EPA sites that have been altered.

Full Story:
Published on Friday, April 28, 2017 in The Washington Post - Energy and Environment
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