Clean Power Plan court delayed, moved to full bench

By Anna Simet | May 17, 2016

On the court’s own motion, the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan oral arguments scheduled for June 2 have been pushed back to Sept. 27, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit announced on May 16.

The case was to go before a three-panel judge on June 2, but will now instead go en banc, or before a full, 11-judge bench.

The Clean Power Plan, which aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, was published in the Federal Register on Oct. 23 of last year. In response to the CPP, many lawsuits were filed, including one signed on by 24 states.

The new court date will come nine months after a coalition of 29 states, led by Texas and West Virginia, asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block implementation of the CPP until the legal challenge filed in the lower appeals court is resolved. On Feb. 9, the U.S. Supreme Court granted the request.

Those in support and opposition to the CPP believe the new court date will speed up the case’s final resolution, as it is likely that the losing party would appeal for an en banc hearing.

The EPA has stood firm on its stance that the CPP rules are legal, and believes it will withstand challenges. While over half the states have challenged the CPP and ceased work on initial compliance steps—such as completing and submitting state implementation plans that would have been due by September—leaders in other states including Minnesota, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Virginia have stated they are still moving forward.