Saturday, August 19, 2017

Massive legal drama takes form around Clean Power Plan

The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Power Plan continues to be the subject of lawsuits by states and groups, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).

In a conversation hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations last week, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy attributed some of the success to the Climate Change Conference in Paris to recent efforts such as the Clean Power Plan. 

Yet that same plan is now under fire from states and groups, including the CEI. The organization has filed a suit over the Clean Power Plan in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

“Personally, I do not think [the Paris talks] change in any way either the statutory framework in which EPA is operating or the factors it ought to be considering,” CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman told EP Newswire.

CEI’s complaint argues that the EPA overstepped their legal authority in implementing the plan, a concern the organization had raised before the plan went into effect. CEI’s lawsuit is one of many aimed at the new regulations. The regulations require emission cuts on a state-by-state basis, which critics argue pressures states to take action in violation of the state’s authority over its own affairs.

CEI alleges that along with this potential overreach, the costs the regulation will level on business will be burdensome. “Its only beneficiary will be EPA itself,” Kazman said in a previous statement.

Shortly before the plan went into effect, the Paris climate talks concluded with a goal of reducing the expected rise in average global temperature. The United States pledged to drop its greenhouse gas emissions 26 percent below their 2005 levels by 2025, and the Clean Power Plan would have a meaningful role in this endeavor.

To achieve its aims the plan would press states to implement policy changes to meet the goals the plan establishes, which states argue runs afoul of their rights. States have three years to develop plans to slash greenhouse emissions and seven before initial compliance dates.

CEI is among a number of trade groups and companies to stand with the 27 states suing to stop the Clean Power Plan. Eighteen states, the District of Columbia, companies and environmental groups have supported EPA and the Clean Power Plan. Idaho, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Tennessee have not taken sides in the legal conflict.

“There are literally dozens of petitions that have been filed and the D.C. Circuit will probably end up consolidating them all into one very, very large court case with a consolidated briefing,” Kazman told EP Newswire. “I think it will be a fight with lots of fighters.”

Organizations in this story

Competitive Enterprise Institute 1899 L St NW Washington, DC - 20036

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, DC - 20460

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