The D.C. Circuit denied industry petitioners’ motions to stay the effectiveness of the Clean Power Plan on Jan. 21. In a two-page order, the court found the petitioners had not satisfied the requirements for a stay pending review and issued an expedited case schedule.

The order asked parties to submit a format for briefing as well as a schedule by Jan. 27, 2016 that ensures that all briefing will be complete by April 22, 2016. Parties will debate whether the cost of implementing the rule is too great and whether EPA has exceeded the bounds of its authority, among numerous other issues. Oral arguments are scheduled to begin June 2, 2016 and continue to June 3 if necessary. This schedule could allow for a court decision before initial state plans are due in September 2016.

This decision means that states and power plants subject to this rule must take immediate steps towards complying with the Clean Power Plan in order for initial state plans to be submitted to EPA as required in early September 2016. The controversy is expected quickly to move from the federal level to the state level.

The Clean Power Plan is the Obama Administration’s landmark rule that will require states to implement measures to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the power sector. Carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced through the implementation of a number of measures, including deployment of solar, wind, nuclear and similar non-CO2 emitting technologies, and by changing consumer use of energy through energy efficiency programs. The Clean Power Plan is being challenged by more than half of the states as well as numerous power entities, and is likewise supported by a large number of states and other entities.

Please consult a member of the Schiff Hardin Environmental Group for more information.