Frozen In Court

CPP appeals hearing on arguments finally takes place; questions remain

The globe may be getting warmer, but any plans to combat that issue are essentially frozen.

Tuesday was considered a moment of truth for the Clean Power Plan. The plan championed by the Obama administration has been through quite the roller coaster—including being stalled since February—and Tuesday marked the date where 10 court justices heard the pleas of its main opposition. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit’s decision to hold the hearing en banc (before the entire bench of judges) signifies the importance of this case. While the hearing will undoubtedly contribute to progress down the road, Tuesday was ultimately seven hours worth of arguments but no decision.

The preeminent feature of opposing arguments concerns the Environmental Protection Agency’s legal jurisdiction. The official legal case is entitled West Virginia v. EPA. Representatives from West Virginia, whose economy is almost entirely reliant on coal-produced electricity, argued that implementation of the plan cannot proceed as stipulated due to imbalanced provisions that would benefit certain regions, and states specifically, more than others. 23 other states are represented in the challenging guard, with support from the fossil fuel industry. They also challenged part of the EPA’s overextension as being unconstitutional.

Last year’s COP21 climate summit in Paris set precedents for much of the globe to meet emissions standards by 2050. In many regards, the U.S. is statistically well behind in its projections to meet these goals.

“In all likelihood, it will be several months before the court will decide this case. We’ll be lucky to see a decision before Christmas,” Jonathan Adler of the Washington Post wrote September 28. After the appeals court hands down its decision in the coming months, the case is widely expected to be appealed to the Supreme Court.



  1. Sign It For Climate | Electrical Apparatus Magazine - October 6, 2016

    […] concrete emissions regulations in the United States are moving at a snail’s pace, the global movement is nearing a checkpoint. On Wednesday, the threshold for entry into force […]

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