U.S. Court of Appeals Rules that Clean Power Plan Will Remain in Effect

D.C. Circuit Rejects Attempts to Block Historic Measure to Reduce Climate Pollution, Protect Public Health

January 21, 2016
Sharyn Stein, 202-572-3396, sstein@edf.org
(Washington, D.C. – January 21, 2016) – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today rejected efforts to put a groundbreaking clean air protection on hold.

The court’s decision  means the Clean Power Plan, a historic effort to reduce carbon pollution and protect the public from the dangers of climate change, will remain in effect while the court hears arguments on its merits.

“Today’s court decision means we can continue working – without delay — to protect Americans from the clear and present danger of climate change,” said Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund, which is a party to the case. “The Clean Power Plan encourages states to use their own best ideas and resources to create prosperous clean energy economies. It rests on a rock-solid legal foundation and will help America move toward a safer and healthier future.”   

The Clean Power Plan is the single biggest step America has ever taken to address the threat of climate change. It establishes the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from the nation’s power plants – the single largest source of such pollution. By 2030, when it’s fully implemented, the Clean Power Plan will reduce carbon pollution from the power sector to 32 percent below 2005 levels. It is also expected to save 3,600 lives and prevent 90,000 childhood asthma attacks, while saving average American families almost $85 on annual energy bills.

Opponents launched multiple legal attacks against the Clean Power Plan, starting before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finished writing it. So far, EPA has won every legal battle in defense of the Clean Power Plan.

In today’s victory, the court rejected opponents’ requests to block the implementation of – or “stay” — the plan. EDF was part of a broad and diverse coalition opposing the stay that included attorneys general of 18 states and seven large cities, nine major power companies, clean energy companies, and public health and environmental organizations. In recent weeks, additional parties – including the National League of Cities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, fourteen additional municipalities, and two former Republican Administrators of EPA – have moved to join the litigation as amici supporting EPA. This large coalition will support the Clean Power Plan in the next phase of legal proceedings, when the court considers the merits of legal challenges to the rule. The court has scheduled oral arguments for June 2.

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

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