Legal & Regulatory

D.C. Circuit Denies Stay of Clean Power Plan

A federal court has denied the motions for stay requested by 27 states and numerous industry groups to block the Clean Power Plan from taking effect.

“Petitioners have not satisfied the stringent requirements for a stay pending court review,” the court said in its two-page order on January 21.

The court also ordered that consideration of the appeals “be expedited,” and that all parties submit the proposed format for the briefing of all issues by January 27.

Oral arguments are scheduled for June 2, the court added.

The 27 states challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) August 2015–released Clean Power Plan includes a coalition of 24 states spearheaded by West Virginia and Texas. Oklahoma, North Dakota, and Mississippi filed their own petitions.

Other petitioners challenging the rule include three labor unions, several rural electric cooperatives, more than 24 industry and trade groups, several non-profit public policy organizations, and more than two dozen electric utilities with coal and gas plants.

In all, more than a hundred parties have filed nearly 40 petitions challenging the plan, which have been consolidated into a single case, State of West Virginia, et al., v. EPA.

“This is a huge win for protecting our health and climate from dangerous carbon pollution. The Court has brushed aside the polluters’ bogus bid to block the Clean Power Plan, and the electricity sector will continue the shift from its high-pollution, dirty-fueled past to a safer, cleaner-powered future,” said environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council in a January 21 statement.

The group is one of more than a dozen organizations that have intervened in the case in support of the EPA. Also backing the agency is a coalition of 18 states, the District of Columbia, and five other cities (some in states that have filed petitions challenging the rule), a county, and a number of municipal utilities and power companies.

“Today’s decision by the lower court is the first of many legal steps that will take place in the coming weeks and months as we seek to overturn Obama’s costly power plan,” said Laura Sheehan, a spokesperson for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. “We remain hopeful that the court’s ultimate decision will be in favor of the best interests of the nation.”


Sonal Patel, associate editor (@POWERmagazine, @sonalcpatel)






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