Supreme Court Stays EPA's Clean Power Plan

Posted on 2/10/2016 by Roger Marks

In response to appeals from both states and industry advocates, the US Supreme Court yesterday issued a stay on EPA’s Clean Power Plan in a 5–4 decision. This is the latest hurdle for the long-delayed implementation of new air quality standards for carbon dioxide (CO2) from electricity generators. A “stay” in this case means the US EPA is prevented from implementing or enforcing its Clean Power Plan, pending the outcome of litigation that challenges the Rule’s legality. 

Finalized in August 2015, the Clean Power Plan sets state-specific emissions limits for greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. The plan addresses carbon dioxide which accounts for 82% of greenhouse gas emissions in the US, and aims to lower carbon pollution from the power sector by 32% over 15 years.

State Air Plans Due Summer ’16  

States currently in the process of creating compliance plans to account for EPA’s new CO2 emissions limits may delay their plans as they wait for the outcome of ongoing litigation. In its Final Rule, EPA set “Summer 2016” as a tentative deadline for states to submit compliance plans. Whether the deadline will change once the court cases are settled remains to be seen.

Clean Air Act rules for carbon dioxide air emissions from power plants

This is the second time the Supreme Court has ruled against new EPA Clean Air Act rules in recent memory. In June 2015, the Court found EPA unreasonably interpreted Federal law by failing to consider costs to industry in its decision to expand regulation of mercury and other toxic emissions, in the case Michigan v. EPA.

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A new online course is now available to help environmental engineers, EHS managers, and compliance officers keep their facilities in compliance with the US EPA’s Clean Air Act programs. The Clean Air Act Regulations guides professionals through compliance with Title V permit requirements, emissions and pollution controls, annual greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting, Risk Management Planning (RMP) responsibilities, and more. 

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Tags: Act, Air, Clean, EPA

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