Court delays fight over new power plant rule

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, June 27, 2016

Federal judges sided with U.S. EPA’s critics today as they agreed to push back court action in a case challenging the agency’s greenhouse gas rules for new power plants.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Friday granted a request by states, industries and other opponents of EPA’s climate rule to delay the schedule for filing briefs in the case.

They said the delay was in order because several of the groups already suing the agency over the regulations also planned to challenge EPA on another front over its rejection of petitions to reconsider the rules (E&ENews PM, May 24).

The court had already set a schedule that would have required initial briefs in July and final briefs in November.

EPA and its allies, however, opposed suspending the schedule, which they argued would cause “needless delay.” Delaying the resolution of this case should be avoided, they argued, to prevent “lingering uncertainty” about the fate of both this rule and the agency’s related regulation to limit greenhouse gases from existing power plants.

EPA instead suggested that the court set a modified schedule with final briefs still due in November.

But the court refused to adopt EPA’s proposal in its order today. Instead, the judges asked the parties to submit motions to consolidate challenges against EPA by July 12 and suggestions for a new briefing schedule by Aug. 4.

The order was issued by Judge Thomas Griffith, a Republican appointee, and Democratic-appointed Judges Sri Srinivasan and Patricia Millett.

Click here for the court’s order.