No longer neutral, Nevada sides with states opposing the Clean Power Plan
- While still not formally joining the lawsuits seeking to overturn the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan, the formerly neutral state of Nevada has filed an amicus brief in a federal appeals court challenging the law, saying it will hurt the state's economy, the Hill reports.
- In the brief, Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt (R) argues individual states have primary decision-making authority to establish emission standards for their power plants. Though his state kind likely meet the carbon cuts set forth by the plan, he predicted there would be financial harm done.
- And more than 200 lawmakers, led by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), have filed an amicus brief of their own, opposing the plan and supporting states in pushing back against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
A pair of amicus briefs filed in the D.C. Federal Court of Appeals add to the growing ranks of those opposed to the Clean Power Plan. Nevada, previously one of a few states to remain neutral on the carbon plan, stepped in and called the rule an overstep of federal authority.
Sen. McConnell's brief includes 34 senators and 171 House members. The lawmakers argue "the final rule goes well beyond the clear statutory directive. ... If Congress desired to give EPA sweeping authority to transform the nation’s electricity sector, Congress would have provided for that unprecedented power in detailed legislation."
The law has support in the courts as well. More than a dozen states and some cities have previously filed briefs in support of the rule, including: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington. The District of Columbia, Chicago, New York City and Philadelphia have also signed on.
The Supreme Court in an unprecedented decision ruled 5-4 to stay the implementation of the Clean Power Plan, throwing states in limbo as they mull whether or not to continue forward with compliance plans or stop altogether.
Even if the rule is ultimately upheld, the Supreme Court's stay on implementation of the rule could significantly impact compliance timelines for states and utilities. As it stands, the EPA will be unable to enforce its September deadline for states to submit compliance plans or request an extension. Without enforcement from the EPA, states may have to decide on their own whether to comply.
The EPA will continue to work with states on compliance plans while litigation goes forward, according to the White House.
More than three dozen lawsuits seeking review of the Clean Power Plan have been consolidated in the D.C. Circuit Court, which is scheduled to hear oral arguments on June 2.
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