States ask appeals courts to reconsider suit to block Clean Power Plan
- States which sued to block the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan and saw both their challenges rejected by courts have appealed their cases to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, according to The Hill.
- A coalition of 14 states has petitioned the court, and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt separately appealed his own challenge to the 10th Circuit.
- Courts in both cases held that states will need to wait for the final Clean Power Plan regulations, which could drop as early as next week, before they can challenge the federal government's strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
States are champing at the bit to challenge the Environmental Protection Agency over its plan to regulate existing power plants, and have filed appeals of lawsuits already rejected as being premature. But it may largely be a moot issue, as the final regulations are expected out sometime in August.
A 14-state coalition led by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has filed one appeal, and Oklahoma's Pruitt filed a second – though the court's denial of the Oklahoma complaint was predicated on the West Virginia decision.
While the courts have held states must wait for the final regulations, the states argue the regulations are already imposing significant costs and the courts do have the authority to take the case.
“Under the panel majority’s decision, an agency can repeatedly threaten regulated parties to make immediate expenditures to comply with an unlawful but not-yet-final rule, and evade legal accountability for this misconduct,” Morrisey wrote in his appear.
The government's plan calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030, but critics say it is an overreach of federal authority. The EPA and the rules' supporters, however, believe the agency has the authorization to regulate existing power plants and will give states sufficient flexibility to achieve the targets.
Some states – Oklahoma, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Texas and Mississippi among them – have hinted they may refuse to file a compliance plan, meaning the federal government would set one for them if the rule clears legal challenges.
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