Court won't block climate rule before UN summit

Court won't block climate rule before UN summit

A federal court will not decide on whether to block the Obama administration’s climate rule for power plants until the end of December at the earliest.

That means the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rule, President Obama’s biggest effort to fight climate change, will be in place when talks at the United Nations’ global climate pact in Paris wrap on Dec. 11.

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Some opponents of the EPA’s regulations wanted the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to issue a stay before or during the talks in Paris to send a message to negotiators that Obama’s pledged emissions cuts are in trouble.

But the schedule announced Thursday gives opponents and the EPA until Dec. 23 to file legal requests, at which point a three-judge panel is set to decide whether the rule ought to be blocked.

Twenty-six states and dozens of businesses and interest groups have sued to stop the regulation, saying it violates the Clean Air Act and goes beyond the EPA's authority.

Many of the petitioners asked that the D.C. court block implementation of the rule while it is going through litigation.

The EPA proposed the briefing schedule Wednesday, and no other litigants objected to it. But Sen. Jim InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeSenators tear into controversial Trump environment nominee McCain backs Pentagon nominee despite concerns over defense industry ties GOP senators ask Trump for meeting on biofuels mandate MORE (R-Okla.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, accused the Obama administration of trying to delay court proceedings so they would not interfere with the U.N. talks.

To obtain the stay, litigants have to prove a number of factors, including that the rule would harm them if kept in place and that they are likely to ultimately win the case.