Supreme Court Temporarily Halts EPA Power Grab

Earlier this week, the United States Supreme Court temporarily stopped implementation of the Obama administration’s so-called “Clean Power Plan,” (CPP) a regulation issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would dramatically increase utility bills for American consumers. 

As a result of the EPA’s CPP rule, which was finalized last year, 27 states filed suit challenging the agency’s authority to issue the regulation under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. After filing suit, those states filed a petition with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit asking that it halt further implementation of the CPP until the litigation is resolved on the merits. The D.C. Circuit rejected the petition in late January.

By a five to four decision, the Supreme Court reversed the D.C. Circuit’s denial and temporarily halted implementation of the CPP. The Supreme Court’s unusual decision is a strong indication that they have serious reservations about the EPA’s aggressive reading of Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.

Critics of the EPA’s Clean Air Act interpretation have spanned the ideological spectrum; famous liberal Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe has argued that the EPA exceeded its authority under the Clean Air Act by issuing the CPP.

The Supreme Court’s decision is a major victory for ratepayers across the country. As the litigation plays out, National Taxpayers Union will continue to monitor developments and keep taxpayers abreast of the latest.