States seek court delay of Obama's climate rule

Thinkstock

Fifteen conservative states asked a federal court on Thursday to push back the Obama administration’s climate rule for power plants while they sue the government to get the regulations overturned.

The states, led by West Virginia, say that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ought to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from enforcing its carbon limits in order to protect states from spending to comply with a rule that could be invalidated in court.

ADVERTISEMENT
“This rule is the most far-reaching energy regulation in the nation’s history, and the EPA simply does not have the legal authority to carry it out,” West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said in a statement.

“With this rule, the EPA is attempting to transform itself from an environmental regulator to a central planning agency for states’ energy economies,” he said. “The Clean Air Act was never intended to be used to create this type of regulatory regime, and it flies in the face of the powers granted to states under the U.S. Constitution.”

EPA spokeswoman Liz Purchia said the regulation will pass muster in court.

“The Clean Power Plan is based on a sound legal and technical foundation, and it was shaped by extensive input from states, industry, energy regulators, health and environmental groups, and individual members of the public,” she said in a statement.

Litigants usually cannot request a stay until they file a lawsuit, which the states have not done because the climate rule has not been formally published in the Federal Register.

But the states argue that the rule will immediately obligate them to start working to comply, so the courts should act sooner.

Later Thursday, 15 liberal states and two cities, led by New York, said they would formally fight any effort from West Virginia and the conservative states to overturn the climate rule. But the petition those states filed Thursday to delay the rule is premature, the liberal states countered.

The request comes 10 days after President Obama unveiled the rule, which seeks a 32 percent cut in the power sector’s carbon dioxide output.

The same conservative states asked the EPA to delay the rule last week, but the agency has yet to decide on the request.

The states also challenged the rule before it was made final, but they lost in the D.C. court.

— This story was updated at 8:15 p.m.