Flurry of lawsuits for Obama climate rules

Flurry of lawsuits for Obama climate rules
© Getty

Numerous groups and businesses filed lawsuits challenging the Obama administration’s climate change rules for power plants before the deadline on Tuesday.

Court records show that at least 10 parties filed suit in the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Tuesday to challenge the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.


They join the dozens of states, energy companies, business groups and others who want the court to overturn the rule.

Tuesday’s filings came from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the American Forest & Paper Association, the American Wood Council, the Energy-Intensive Manufacturers’ Working Group on Greenhouse Gas Regulation, the Local Government Coalition for Renewable Energy, the National Alliance of Forest Owners, Minnesota Power, Prairie State Generating Co., Denbury Onshore and the Biogenic CO2 Coalition.

“EPA’s Clean Power Plan violates constitutionally protected state rights by forcing set emissions standards for each state’s energy section,” Sam Kazman, general counsel for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said in a statement.

“The Clean Power Plan will also result in less power at higher prices. Its only beneficiary will be EPA itself,” Kazman added.

Donna Harman, president of the forest group, took a different tack in criticizing the regulations.

“The Clean Power Plan does not put biomass on a level playing field with other renewable energy sources; this litigation will assure that EPA does not improperly constrain states’ ability to take advantage of the important role biomass energy can play in addressing climate change,” Harman said.

The lawsuits are likely to be consolidated by the court into cases led by West Virginia and North Dakota that challenge the rules for existing and new power plants, respectively.

Given the high stakes, the cases are likely to eventually reach the Supreme Court, which may decide whether the rules align with the Clean Air Act and the Constitution.

The EPA argues that its rules are necessary and fit well within its authority.

“The Clean Power Plan has strong scientific and legal foundations, provides states with broad flexibilities to design and implement plans, and is clearly within EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden officials unveil plan to conserve 30 percent of US lands and water | Watchdog questions adequacy of EPA standards for carcinogenic chemical emissions | Interior proposing revocation of Trump-era rollback on bird protections Biden officials unveil plan to conserve 30 percent of US lands and water Feehery: Biden seems intent on repeating the same mistakes of Jimmy Carter MORE said when the lawsuits started in October.

“We are confident we will again prevail against these challenges and will be able to work with states to successfully implement these first-ever national standards to limit carbon pollution the largest source of carbon emissions in the United States.”