'Coalition' Attempts Fail to Roadblock the EPA's Clean Power Plan

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on January 26, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Attempts to block the EPA's Clean Power Plan through the use of a judicial stay have failed and state utilities have been greenlit to begin implementing the CPP. A coalition of various coal and fossil fuel interests failed to convince a panel of judges that they met the "stringent requirements for a pending court review."

This means that the Plan, which seeks to put severe limitations on carbon pollution by existing plants, will be in effect until June.

Coalition of Fossil Fuel and Coal Interests

The stay to halt the implementation of the Plan was led by West Virginia, which represented the interests of several states and other fossil/coal interests who would be more than happy to have the plan killed. According to UtilityDive, the court ruled not to grant West Virginia injunctive relief because it agreed with the EPA and its intervenors, holding that West Virginia failed to prove that "irreparable harm" would results if the rule was not immediately suspended.

Winter v. NRDC

The petitioners were fighting an uphill battle with regards to gaining their injunction. Under the U.S Supreme Court case of Winter v. NRDC, they had to prove that they were likely to succeed on the merits, that the stay would be in the public interest, that the petitioners would suffer irreparable harm, and a few other requirements. Such public-interest injunctions typically are difficult to procure.

If anything, it's just as likely convinced that not having the stay was just as much in the public interest as the stay actually being put into effect. Leaders from poor neighborhoods and communities of color actually argued that a stay would mean continued pollution, cardiovascular aggravation, and the worsening of other diseases.

Sierra Club Celebrates

Lawyers for the Sierra Club were in a celebratory mood and described the court win as a victory for the country and for health. The opposing side voiced disappointment but maintained confidence that the coalition would eventually be vindicated in court.

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