Environmentalists and Democratic states are fighting the Trump administration’s request that a federal appeals court put on hold its case regarding former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein Obama Obama backs Trudeau in Canadian election Former Sen. Heller to run for Nevada governor Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Senate Democrats ding Biden energy proposal MORE’s main climate change rule.
The coalition, which supports Obama’s Clean Power Plan and opposes the plan by President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to repeal it, said the request to pause consideration of the case is extraordinary and goes against legal precedent.
Environmental groups led by the Environmental Defense Fund told the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that delay “would have the effect of improperly suspending the rule without review by any court, without any explanation, and without mandatory administrative process."
“The agency cannot be allowed to accomplish through abeyance something it cannot do on its own: an indefinite suspension of a duly promulgated rule without judicial review, without a notice and comment rulemaking, and without any reasoned explanation,” they wrote in their brief filed Wednesday.
A coalition of attorneys general for Democratic states, cities and counties said the case is too important to stop, and the time has come for a decision.
“EPA fails to justify its unprecedented request for an open-ended abeyance at this late stage of litigation: more than six months after the en banc court heard a full day of oral argument,” wrote the group, led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D).
“This case is ripe for decision now, and nothing that EPA has proposed to do obviates the need for this court’s review.”
The briefs come a week after Trump signed an executive order directing EPA head Scott Pruitt to begin a formal review of the Clean Power Plan for possible repeal, an outcome that both Trump and Pruitt support.
The appeals court heard oral arguments in the case against the 2015 rule in September. It could issue a ruling any day, but the Trump administration asked that it pause its consideration while the EPA undertakes its regulatory process.
Supporters of the regulation argued that the EPA is trying to short-circuit the regulatory process by having the court stop its case.
“Indefinitely deferring a decision here, as EPA requests, would waste the substantial resources already expended in this litigation by the parties and this court,” the states said.