Full D.C. Circuit to Decide Legal Merits of the Clean Power Plan

Court Orders En Banc Review, Reschedules Oral Argument for September

May 16, 2016
Sharyn Stein, 202-572-3396

(Washington, D.C. – May 16, 2016) Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued an order providing that legal challenges to the Clean Power Plan will be heard en banc by the active judges on the Court, and rescheduling oral argument in the case for September 27th, 2016.


Oral argument in the case was originally scheduled to take place on June 2nd before a three-judge panel. Chief Judge Merrick Garland and Judge Cornelia Pillard did not participate in the issuance of today’s order.


“We welcome the D.C. Circuit’s order providing for immediate en banc review of the Clean Power Plan, and look forward to presenting the strong legal and factual basis for the Clean Power Plan to a full complement of active judges on the court,” said Tomás Carbonell, Director of Regulatory Policy and Lead Attorney at EDF, which is a party to the case. “Today’s order will enable the full D.C. Circuit to resolve the legal challenges to the Clean Power Plan immediately and without delay – an especially important development given the urgent threat of climate change to the health and security of communities and families across our nation.”


The Clean Power Plan is the single biggest step America has ever taken to address the threat of climate change. It established the first-ever national limits on carbon pollution from fossil-fuel fired power plants – the largest source of such pollution in the U.S.


EPA estimates that by 2030, the Clean Power Plan will:


    • Reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants 32 percent below 2005 levels
    • Save 3,600 lives annually
    • Prevent 90,000 childhood asthma attacks annually
    • Save American families almost $85 on their annual energy bill


A large and diverse group of Clean Power Plan supporters have filed briefs as parties to the case, including: a coalition of 18 States and seven cities and counties; a large group of power companies; three advanced energy trade associations representing more than 3,000 companies and organizations in the advanced energy sector; and a coalition of public health and environmental groups, including EDF. 


Rigorous amicus briefs in support of the Clean Power Plan were filed by hundreds of leaders across America with deep and diverse expertise including: Amazon; Apple; Google; Microsoft; Ikea; Mars Inc.; Adobe; Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts; 193 current Members of Congress; 54 cities, counties and mayors (including dozens in states litigating to obstruct these protections); former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta; former Republican EPA Administrators William D. Ruckelshaus and William K. Reilly; the Consumers Union; a broad cross-section of religious organizations; leading health and medical associations; and many of the nation’s leading experts on the electric grid, the Clean Air Act, and climate science.


You can find more information about the Clean Power Plan, including all legal briefs in the case, on EDF’s website

# # #

Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading international nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. Connect with us on EDF Voices, Twitter and Facebook.