Court temporarily blocks EPA’s Clean Power Plan

[private]A divided U.S. Supreme Court has put a temporary hold on the EPA’s Clean Power Plan that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.

The court voted 5-4 Tuesday to issue a stay that prevents the agency from enforcing the clean air regulations it put in place last fall, a decision that cheered utilities like Georgia Power and was a setback for environmentalists.

The Supreme Court is expected to hear the challenges to the EPA rule sometime before mid-2017.

“This is a victory against an out of control Environmental Protection Agency,” Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens said. “We will continue to fight this executive overreach which will put Americans out of work and drive up the cost of electricity for consumers.”

Georgia is one of 29 states that have gone to court to challenge the Obama administration’s efforts to cut back on carbon emissions.

“The Supreme Court’s stay’s timing of the infamous EPA rule is significant for our state and others who are grappling with compliance,” Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols said. “Now we have some breathing room and a strong signal from the Court that this entire plan could be struck down in totality.”

“Today’s unfortunate decision by the Supreme Court hits pause on the country’s strongest action to lower harmful carbon pollution, but it won’t stop the massive shift to cleaner, cheaper energy already underway in the Southeast and across the nation,” said Frank Rambo, a senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center.

The EPA regulation requires states to reduce greenhouse gas pollution from electric power plants, the largest source of such emissions. Opponents of the clean air rule accuse the Obama administration of carrying out a “war on coal.”

Georgia Power opposes the regulation but has closed more than a dozen coal-fired power plants in the last three years.

In its latest Integrated Resource Plan filed with the PSC, Georgia Power expressed hopes that the Supreme Court will eventually throw out the regulation:

“As a result of the ongoing litigation regarding numerous fundamental flaws and the pending application to the Supreme Court requesting stay of the rule, there remains a great deal of uncertainty around the rule, and the Company must consider the fact that the rule could be overturned or substantially modified by either the D.C. Circuit or the Supreme Court.”

© 2016 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Clean Power Plan , coal-fired plants , EPA , Georgia Power , greenhouse gases , Sam Olens , Tim Echols , U.S. Supreme Court