N.D. joins appeal to Supreme Court

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, February 2, 2016

North Dakota has joined more than two dozen other states in pressing the Supreme Court to put the brakes on the Obama administration’s signature climate change rule.

On Friday, the state filed a motion with Chief Justice John Roberts, asking his court to freeze U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan as litigation challenging the rule plays out in a lower court.

The application comes on the heels of several similar petitions filed last week by dozens of states and industry groups. Roberts has asked the Obama administration to respond to those requests by Thursday afternoon.

In its petition, North Dakota argues the court should halt the rule because the state is already suffering “ongoing irreparable harm.”

The state would be particularly hard hit, the document said, because EPA imposes “a particularly stringent compliance requirement” on the state, requiring a “dramatic and immediate shift” from lignite-coal-powered generators to gas-powered plants or renewable sources.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit last month refused requests to freeze the rule, saying that challengers hadn’t met the stringent requirements needed to halt or “stay” a regulation (E&ENews PM, Jan. 21).

In a separate motion, 25 states and four state agencies, led by West Virginia, appealed that decision to the Supreme Court, asking it to block the rule while litigation moves ahead in the lower court (Greenwire, Jan. 26).

A coalition of utilities, coal industry groups and business interests, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, submitted three separate stay requests (E&ENews PM, Jan. 27).

It’s widely seen as unlikely that the high court would grant such an unusual effort to overturn a lower court decision pending litigation, but critics of the rule are hopeful the high stakes will encourage the justices to intervene.

The administration’s Clean Power Plan is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Click here to read North Dakota’s motion.