EDF Urges Appeals Court to Reject Attempts to Block Climate Pollution Standards for Power Plants

June 12, 2024
Sharyn Stein, 202-905-5718, sstein@edf.org

(Washington, D.C. – June 12, 2024) Environmental Defense Fund is urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to reject attempts to block EPA protections against climate pollution from power plants.

On April 25, EPA unveiled standards that will slash climate pollution from new gas-burning power plants and existing coal-burning power plants. A group of Republican Attorneys General and fossil fuel-related businesses have petitioned the D.C. Circuit to stay – or immediately block – those critically important protections. 

EDF has now filed an amicus, or friend of the court, brief opposing those stay requests and supporting EPA’s standards. 

“Americans are today suffering from extreme storms and floods, rising temperatures, wildfires and wildfire smoke, unhealthy air quality, illness, threats to food and water supplies, unstable insurance markets, and lost homes due to the accumulated stocks of greenhouse gases. Each additional ton of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere contributes to the mounting climate crisis,” EDF says in its brief. “Although EPA has long been under a statutory obligation to control harmful climate pollution, litigation and administrative delays have forestalled implementation of the limits Congress mandated.”

Fossil fuel-fired power plants are responsible for about one-quarter of all U.S. climate pollution. The Clean Air Act requires EPA to address climate pollution, and the agency’s authority was recently reinforced by Congress in specific instructions in the Inflation Reduction Act.

The performance-based standards that EPA unveiled in April allow power companies flexibility to achieve required pollution reductions. The availability of low and zero-emitting solutions has been turbocharged by extensive investments under the Inflation Reduction Act and another law recently passed by Congress, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Clean power is now the most affordable and most reliable option in the U.S.

The D.C. Circuit has already rejected requests by West Virginia and by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association to administratively stay EPA’s standards. The court is now considering judicial stay requests by Republican Attorneys General and fossil fuel industry parties – many of whom have a long history of trying to block any pollution protections. 

EDF addresses those facts in its brief:

“Industry has profited from these delays while the public has paid the price — in significant climate-change harms and technological progress that federal standards would have prompted … [They] should not be allowed to leverage their own inaction on carbon pollution as a basis to further delay regulatory action … the Clean Air Act prioritizes public health and welfare.”

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One of the world’s leading international nonprofit organizations, Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org) creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. To do so, EDF links science, economics, law, and innovative private-sector partnerships. With more than 3 million members and offices in the United States, China, Mexico, Indonesia and the European Union, EDF’s scientists, economists, attorneys and policy experts are working in 28 countries to turn our solutions into action. Connect with us on Twitter @EnvDefenseFund