EPA faces wave of lawsuits after Obama’s climate change rule officially adopted

President Obama’s signature climate change policy, the Clean Power Plan, formally entered official US legislation on 23 October with the publication of a new rule in the Federal Register. The publication of the rule – which requires the US power sector to cut emissions by 32 per cent by 2030 against 2005 levels – has prompted 24 states and one coal company to launch a legal challenge against the policy. Under the Clean Power Plan, each state has been assigned an individual target that reflects their current energy mix, and states can choose how they wish to reduce emissions. The Clean Power Plan was first unveiled at the beginning of August, forming the centrepiece of Obama’s push to make action on climate change a key part of his legacy. The proposals have faced fierce criticism from some industrial groups and states. However, they were unable to mount a legal challenge to the controversial policy until the rule was formally published. The litigants, which include West Virginia, Texas and Alabama, are now accusing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of going beyond its authority by ordering states to clean up their power sectors. They are calling for the rule to be suspended while the case waits to be heard in the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The states argue the new policy will damage the coal mining industry, raise energy costs of consumers, and put US energy security at risk. However, the EPA has consistently argued the rule is on firm legal footing. Gina McCarthy, head of the EPA, said it was confident the legal challenges would be rebuffed by the legislature. “The Clean Power Plan has strong scientific and legal foundations, provides states with broad flexibilities to design and implement plans, and is clearly within EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act,” she said in a statement. “We are confident we will again prevail against these challenges and will be able to work with states to successfully implement these first-ever national standards to limit carbon pollution the largest source of carbon emissions in the United States,” she added.

Business Green, 26 October 2015 ;http://www.businessgreen.com ;