Court postpones arguments in litigation over carbon rule

Source: Amanda Reilly, E&E News reporter • Posted: Friday, March 31, 2017

The federal court hearing the litigation over the Obama administration’s carbon rule for new power plants today postponed oral arguments that were scheduled for next month.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit removed the arguments from its calendar at least until it decides what to do with the Trump administration’s motion to pause the case.

The court originally scheduled the arguments for April 17 (Greenwire, Dec. 2, 2016).

U.S. EPA’s standards finalized in August 2015 required both new and modified fossil-fuel-fired power plants to meet carbon dioxide limits. The standards for coal plants can’t be met by efficiency improvements alone, meaning operators of new power plants will have to capture carbon and sequester it in deep saline formations.

Earlier this week, President Trump ordered the agency to review the rule, along with the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. The administration also asked the D.C. Circuit to hold the challenges to both rules in abeyance while it reconsiders.

A host of industry entities and states that are challenging the new source rule today told the D.C. Circuit that they supported the motion to hold the case in abeyance.

The supporters of the rule have not yet officially weighed in, but they are expected to ask the court to continue the litigation.