The US supreme court Tuesday agreed to review the Trump administration’s decision to revamp an Obama-era coal power plant regulation as a group of states and coal-mining companies pressed for a favorable outcome.
Five different justices announced their confirmation at the start of the March oral arguments on the Clean Power Plan, which requires states to curtail greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants. The government has argued that states can voluntarily reduce emissions and a federal judge agreed with the federal government and, for now, the rule is on hold.
As previously noted by the Guardian, the US supreme court announced on Tuesday it will consider “whether to hear the appeal in the matter pending before the United States district court for the District of Columbia”. The proposed US rules that go into effect on 1 July would weaken the Clean Power Plan, which the Obama administration said would limit emissions from coal plants.
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The states involved in the case are: Texas, West Virginia, Alabama, Nebraska, Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri, Indiana, South Carolina, Tennessee, Louisiana, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Wyoming and Colorado. Coalfield groups, including the Mountain States Legal Foundation, argue that federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions is overstepping the federal government’s authority and creates a business bonanza for polluters, increasing costs and forcing coal-reliant states to close power plants. The challenge is part of a broader campaign to block Obama-era regulations on fossil fuels.
The attorney general of West Virginia, Patrick Morrisey, applauded the decision. “The Clean Power Plan is based on faulty science and the lowest common denominator approach for public policy. It will cost American jobs, raise electricity rates, and result in increased pollution and climate change,” Morrisey said in a statement.
The US department of justice, which defended the rule in court, issued a statement. “We look forward to presenting the administration’s case for taking the Clean Power Plan into effect,” said Sally Buzbee, the acting director of the department’s office of environmental regulation.
“This case is yet another attack on the federal government’s authority to protect the public health and environment through commonsense regulations. My team will continue to work with my colleagues across the administration to protect Americans from threats to the health and safety of our communities and planet,” the attorney general of the state of Colorado, Cynthia Coffman, said in a statement.