President Barack Obama’s 15-year plan to cut power plant carbon dioxide emissions and steer the US toward renewable energy sources is under legal attack. Again.
The Environmental Protection Agency regulatory package known as the Clean Power Plan officially became US law Friday.
It was immediately challenged by 24 states, led by West Virginia, in a US appeals court filing in Washington. Oklahoma filed a separate petition.
It’s at least the third time the initiative has come under legal fire. Earlier challenges were rejected by federal judges as premature because the measure hadn’t been published. The U.S. government no longer has that defense, leaving the regulations open to attack.
Announced by Obama and the EPA on August 3, the Clean Power Plan is one of several conservation measures unveiled by the administration only face immediate legal opposition.
A federal appeals court in Cincinnati put on hold the president’s plan to expand environmental protection of U.S. streams and wetlands after 18 states sued.
An effort to regulate hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, was blocked by a federal judge in Casper, Wyoming. The US Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management lacked congressional authorization to impose those rules, the judge said.
The first-ever national standards for addressing power plant carbon pollution, the Clean Power Plan aims by 2030 to reduce those emissions 32% below where they were in 2005.
The rules require states and utilities to use less coal and more solar power, wind power and natural gas.
States are required to submit their initial plans for meeting those objectives by September 6 of next year. Final plans must be submitted two years later.
The government has touted the initiative as “fair, flexible and designed to strengthen the fast-growing trend toward cleaner and lower-polluting American energy.”
Opponents have attacked it as an abuse of federal power that violates existing law and threatens the reliability of the power grid.
“This is the most far-reaching energy regulation in the nation’s history,” Republican West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said in August, when he led a 15-state effort to put those earliest deadlines on hold.
The federal appeals court in Washington turned back that effort last month.