D.C. Circuit Keeps Clean Power Plan Litigation on Hold for Sixty More Days

December 21, 2018
Sharyn Stein, 202-572-3396, sstein@edf.org

(Washington, D.C. – December 21, 2018) The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today announced that long-pending litigation over the Clean Power Plan, our only national limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants, would remain in abeyance for 60 more days.

The court also denied without comment a motion by EDF and a coalition of 17 states and the District of Columbia, six municipalities, and 14 other public health and environmental organizations to rule on the merits of the Clean Power Plan. At the same time, the court directed EPA to continue filing status reports every 30 days.

The full D.C. Circuit heard oral argument en banc in litigation over the Clean Power Plan more than two years ago – in September 2016. The court has yet to rule on the case.

“The Clean Power Plan is a vital tool to help us address the severe and growing threat of climate change,” said Tomás Carbonell, Directory of Regulator Policy and Lead Attorney for EDF, which is a party to the case. “We need to enforce the Clean Power Plan – and strengthen it – to protect American communities and all of our futures.”

The Clean Power Plan is the single largest step the U.S. has ever taken to address the threat of climate change. When fully implemented, it will reduce greenhouse gases from the power sector to 32 percent below 2005 levels – and will save up to 4,500 lives, prevent up to 90,000 childhood asthma attacks, and avoid more than 300,000 missed school and work days each year, according to EPA’s own analysis.

Opponents of the Clean Power Plan challenged it in court as soon as it was published in 2015. The Trump Administration has since filed requests for indefinite abeyance while it considers whether to roll back the Clean Power Plan. The court placed the case temporarily in abeyance starting in April 2017 but has repeatedly denied EPA’s request to put the case on hold indefinitely.

The Trump EPA has proposed a sham Clean Power Plan “replacement” that – compared to the original plan – would increase pollution and cost American lives, and does not fulfil EPA’s legal obligation, repeatedly upheld in court, to protect Americans from the dangers of climate pollution. In comments on the proposal, EDF explained how the replacement would be an appalling abandonment of EPA’s statutory responsibility. The replacement also completely disregards the public health impacts of climate change on American families.

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