By Timothy Cama - 01/21/16 04:01 PM EST
President Obama’s landmark climate change rule for power plants can move forward while its opponents challenge it, a federal court ruled Thursday.
The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied a request by West Virginia, dozens of other states and various energy interest groups to put a judicial stay on the regulation, saying the challengers didn’t show that the stay is needed.
It’s a major early win for the Environmental Protection Agency, which immediately faced a barrage of congressional and legal challenges from the moment in August when it made the regulation final.
The White House is “pleased” with the decision, press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.
“We are confident that the plan will reduce carbon pollution and deliver better air quality, improved public health, and jobs across the country,” he said.
EPA spokeswoman Melissa Harrison said her agency is confident the climate rule will pass muster in court.
“The Plan rests on strong scientific and legal foundations, provides states with broad flexibilities to design and implement plans, is clearly within EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act and shows the United States’ leadership on climate action,” she said.
The rule, known as the Clean Power Plan, mandates a 32 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions from the nation’s power plants.
Opponents told the court that without a stay, they would quickly suffer irreparable harm from a regulation that could eventually be overturned, since they say it does not comply with the Clean Air Act and the Constitution.
But the opponents did score a win in Thursday’s order. The court agreed to expedite the litigation process, scheduling oral arguments for June 2.