On April 5, a coalition of 17 States and seven municipalities nationwide, led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, filed opposition to the Trump Administration’s request to delay court proceedings regarding the Clean Power Plan in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
The opposition was filed by the Attorneys General of New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, the District of Columbia, and Washington State; as well as by the chief legal officers of New York City, Boulder, Colorado, Chicago, Philadelphia, South Miami, Florida, and Broward County, Florida.
The action followed an Executive Order signed by President Donald Trump on March 28, directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to review the Clean Power Plan and decide whether to “suspend, rescind, or revise” it.
The Executive Order was intended by Trump to gut former President Barack Obama’s environmental legislation, which would require states to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants – but which was never implemented because it was challenged in court by 26 Republican-led states.
The EPA filed a motion asking the court to hold the litigation in abeyance while the agency reconsiders the rule.
“The law is clear: The EPA must limit carbon pollution from power plants,” Schneiderman stated. “In order to repeal Obama-era protections, the Trump Administration must replace those protections, as well – and we know how well repeal-and-replace went the first time around. My office will continue to defend the Clean Power Plan and aggressively oppose any effort to stand down from our shared responsibility to protect our environment and our climate.”
In the filing last week, the plaintiffs noted, “EPA fails to justify its unprecedented request for an open-ended abeyance at this late stage of litigation – more than six months after the en banc Court heard a full day of oral argument. This case is ripe for decision now, and nothing that EPA has proposed to do obviates the need for this Court’s review.
“To the contrary, a decision from this Court will resolve critical live disputes over the scope of the Clean Air Act that will not only determine the enforcement of the Clean Power Plan, but also affect any reconsideration or revision of the Rule that EPA may undertake. By contrast, indefinitely deferring a decision here, as EPA requests, would waste the substantial resources already expended in this litigation by the parties and this Court. Moreover, granting EPA’s motion would prejudice State Intervenors’ longstanding and compelling interest in addressing the largest sources of pollution that is causing climate-change harms now.”