States appeal to Supreme Court in fight against Obama’s climate rule

Twenty-six states are asking the Supreme Court to block the Obama administration’s landmark climate change rule for power plants.

The states, led by West Virginia and Texas, say a lower appeals court was wrong last week to reject their plea to hold the regulation off while the federal court system decides whether it is legal.

The appeal shows an attempt to get the high court involved in the litigation much faster than would usually be the case if the states had to wait for the lower court to decide and appeal the ruling.

“While we know a stay request to the Supreme Court isn’t typical at this stage of the proceedings, we must pursue this option to mitigate further damage from this rule,” West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said in a statement. “Real people are hurting in West Virginia and it’s my job to fight for them.”

Without the stay, the states write in their 63-page Supreme Court petition, the regulation “will continue to unlawfully impose massive and irreparable harms upon the sovereign states.”

The Tuesday filing is the latest unorthodox move by conservative-leaning states to convince federal courts to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) climate rule, known as the Clean Power Plan.

Shortly after the Obama administration proposed the rule, in 2014, the group sought to have it overturned. But the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that it could not act on a regulation that is not final.

That court has scheduled oral arguments on the merits of the recent challenge for June 2. The states would usually have to wait for a ruling on that case for a Supreme Court appeal.

The regulation, made final in August, mandates a 32 percent cut in the power sector’s carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.

States’ plans for complying with it are due in September, or they can ask for a two-year extension from the EPA.