On August 13, 2015, fifteen states led by West Virginia unsuccessfully sought to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Carbon Rule by filing suit in the U. S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
The suit was filed in reaction to final version of the Clean Air Act, unveiled by the President on August 3, 2015 and focused on lowering emissions from America’s power plants by 32% below 2005 levels by 2030. The President stated that this Act is the United States’ greatest action thus far to deal with climate change.
The Clean Air Act requires each state’s submission of a plan detailing the ways it intends to meet that ambitious emissions target by September 8, 2016. Attorneys general from all 15 petitioner states assert that the EPA lacks the authority to impose the requirements; therefore, the petitioners were seeking relief from compliance.
In reaction to the Act’s measures, states heavily relying on coal for the production of electricity vowed to fight the Act. Consequently, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming filed for extraordinary relief, requesting that the Court issue its decision by September 8, 2015, one year before the deadline for their plan submissions.
On September 9, 2015, the Court issued its ruling, denying the petition for extraordinary relief and stating that “petitioners have not satisfied the stringent standards that apply to petitions for extraordinary writs that seek to stay agency action.”
The states, through their attorneys general, have stated that this is merely the first salvo in their battle against the new Clean Air Act, so we can expect additional maneuvers to appear prior to and after the September 8, 2016 deadline.
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