A Washington DC appeals court on Thursday ruled against putting the implementation of the US Clean Power Plan on hold until lawsuits against the EPA policy have been settled.
The DC Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a petition from 27 states and dozens of businesses asking for the plan to be set aside until litigation has been dealt with because, they argued, the implementation of the CPP would cause “irreversible harm” to the economy.
“We are pleased that the court has rejected petitioners’ attempts to block the Clean Power Plan from moving forward while litigation proceeds,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement.
The decision was welcomed by environmental groups.
“Today’s decision … to keep [the CPP] on track during the coming months of litigation is a great first step in ensuring the Plan fulfils its promise to bring America into the clean energy future. This ruling paves the way for states to continue their work on Clean Power Plan implementation, giving them the chance to seize the ample economic opportunities available in a low carbon economy,” said Kevin Kennedy, deputy director of the World Resources Institute’s US Climate Program.
The court will now hear oral arguments on the CPP itself on June 2.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said he was confident the plan’s opponents would eventually win.
“The court did not issue a ruling on the merits and we remain confident that our arguments will prevail as the case continues,” he said.
Many observers expect the final decision on whether the CPP will go ahead will eventually be made by the US Supreme Court.
The policy seeks to ensure an overall 32% reduction in CO2 emissions from new and existing US coal-fired power plants by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.
Forty-seven states have been given individual targets under the CPP and are due to submit initial implementation proposals to the EPA by Sep. 6, with final plans due two years later.
The interim compliance period will start in 2022.
Nearly all states are considering using carbon trading to help meet the nationally-set emission goals, experts told Carbon Pulse last April.
By Stian Reklev – email@example.com