Court battle set for Obama climate rule

A federal appeals court has agreed to hear arguments in a pair of cases challenging the Obama administration’s climate rule proposal for power plants.

The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said Tuesday that it will hear oral arguments from the various sides in the cases on the morning of April 16.

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Twelve states, led by West Virginia, along with coal mining company Murray Energy Corp., filed separate lawsuits last year asking the court to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule to cut carbon pollution from power plants by 30 percent by 2030.

In briefs for both cases, the appellants say that the planned regulation is illegal because other pollutants from power plants are already regulated and the Clean Air Act prohibits “double regulation” of pollution sources.

The EPA asked the court to dismiss the cases because the rule has not been made final, and courts cannot review rules before they are finalized. The agency plans to finalize the regulations this summer.

Proponents of the rule, detractors and the Obama administration had all expected legal challenges to it, and see it as a highly likely to make it to the Supreme Court. But suing over a regulation before it is finalized is very rare.