In a highly unusual decision, the Supreme Court on February 9 temporarily halted implementation of the Clean Power Plan, as an appeals court considers an expedited legal challenge from certain states, corporations, and industry groups. The ruling is not based on the merits of plan, which will be heard in D.C. circuit court on June 2.
The Clean Power Plan is a core component of the U.S. climate plan, an historic measure to reduce carbon pollution and protect public health.
The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision means the Clean Power Plan will be “paused” while the circuit court reviews the merits of lawsuits challenging it. J. Drake Hamilton, Fresh Energy’s science policy director, said: “The Supreme Court’s highly unusual action flies in the face of common sense and of Minnesota experience. Experts agree the Clean Power Plan is on solid legal ground and will prevail based on legal merits. Minnesota is already on track to meet the Clean Power Plan goals and we expect the ruling to be only a pause in the process toward full implementation.
The Clean Power Plan is firmly anchored in our nation’s clean air laws and a strong scientific record, and we expect the Clean Power Plan will surpass this challenge as Americans continue to work together to protect our families and communities from the clear and present danger of global warming.”
The Clean Power Plan establishes America’s first-ever national limits on carbon pollution from power plants – the single largest source of such pollution. By 2030, when it’s fully implemented, the Clean Power Plan will reduce carbon pollution from the power sector to 32 percent below 2005 levels. It is also expected to save 3,600 lives and prevent 90,000 childhood asthma attacks each year, while saving average American families almost $85 on annual energy bills.
A broad and diverse coalition are intervening in support of the plan, including Minnesota and 17 other states and seven large cities, ten major power companies, a host of clean energy associations, and public health and environmental organizations. Additional parties include the National League of Cities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, 14 additional municipalities, and two former Republican Administrators of EPA.