- The District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma has ruled against the state's challenge to pending emissions regulations, finding lawsuits must wait until the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalizes the regulations.
- Final regulations are not expected out until next month, but Oklahoma has now sued and been rejected twice, both times for filing prematurely.
- Once the rule is issued, however, legal experts anticipate a long battle ahead with the possibility that the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan winds up in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.
The message is clear: If you want to challenge the Clean Power Plan – and plenty are chomping at the bit – you have to wait until the final rule is issued.
A district court in Oklahoma rejected a lawsuit filed by the state's attorney general, ultimately finding it was too soon to begin was is expected to be a protracted argument.
According to The Hill, Judge Claire Eagan wrote that Oklahoma had not shown the court “has subject matter jurisdiction to hear their claims concerning the proposed emission standards for coal-fired power plants and, upon issuance of a final rule, plaintiffs will have a forum in which they can seek judicial review of the emission standards. … The court finds no exceptional circumstances that would warrant judicial intervention at this time, and plaintiff’s claims should be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.”
That largely echoed a decision issued last month by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which found a challenge from energy companies and states to also be premature.
Critics of the plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030 call it an overreach of federal authority, while backers of the rule say the EPA has the authorization to regulate existing power plants and will give states sufficient flexibility to achieve the targets.
Some states – Oklahoma, Kentucky and Wisconsin – 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.