Supreme Court Puts Clean Power Plan Regulations on Hold

The Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan requires power plants to reduce carbon emissions and establishes state-by-state targets to accomplish this goal.

In a 5-4 decision, the court halted enforcement of the plan until after legal challenges are resolved. (Getty Images)

The Supreme Court may currently be on recess but that did not stop it from issuing a stay preventing the Clean Power Plan regulations from going into effect until the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court if it chooses to, rules on the regulations.

The Clean Power Plan requires power plants to reduce carbon emissions and establishes state-by-state targets to accomplish this goal.

Twenty-seven states and others are currently challenging the Clean Power Plan. They argue that the regulations exceed the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority granted under the Clean Air Act.

“We disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision to stay the Clean Power Plan while litigation proceeds,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement. The National League of Cities, on behalf of local leaders across the country, reaffirmed its support for the plan.

The National League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors also previously filed a motion in the D.C. Circuit supporting the Clean Power Act. It discussed the impact climate change has had on cities.

The Supreme Court has apparently never blocked an EPA regulation before the Court has had a chance to rule on the regulation. The Court’s actions indicate it is likely to hear this case on appeal after it is decided by the D.C. Circuit. The four more liberal Justices (Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan) voted against the stay.

Curious as to how this might affect your city? There will be two upcoming conference calls to learn more about the impact of the Clean Power Plan stay on local governments.

Lisa Soronen bio photoAbout the Author: Lisa Soronen is the Executive Director of the State and Local Legal Center and a regular contributor to CitiesSpeak.