Alabama joined 24 other states Tuesday in petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to halt implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan while legal challenges to the law move forward.
Alabama was among the states that filed suit challenging the CPP on the day it was published in the Federal Register, but an appeals court this week denied the states’ request for a stay to block implementation of the law until a decision is reached.
The latest filing asks the Supreme Court to do what the appeals court would not.
“Once again, President Obama has attempted to radically expand the power of the federal government by adopting policies through executive action that Congress has refused to enact,” Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange said in a news release. “But the scope of President Obama’s job-killing Clean Power Plan is unprecedented. If this new EPA rule is allowed to go into effect, it will shutter coal-fired power plants around the country, resulting in higher electricity costs and fewer jobs.”
The Clean Power Plan aims to decrease overall carbon emissions from power plants nationwide by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. It’s seen as a cornerstone of President Barack Obama’s efforts to combat climate change.
States are required to submit state implementation plans to reach compliance with their individual emissions targets by Sept. 6, 2016, or at least apply for extensions by that date.
The petitioners argued in their court filing that complying with the rule now would force them “to take irreversible actions—amending state laws and regulations, making irrecoverable expenditures, and undertaking planning and investment decisions, including retiring plants,” steps that could not be undone if the rule is later invalidated.
Strange said the Court “should act to immediately stay this rule until the lower courts can address the serious concerns the states have raised about its legality.”
Alabama delays compliance plans
At present, Alabama has not begun working on its state implementation plan.
According to a Bloomberg BNA news report, Alabama Department of Environmental Management Air Division Chief Ron Gore said the state was waiting to develop its plan until after the appeals for a stay were decided.
“We’re optimistic about a stay. We don’t see any sense in working on it now until there’s a ruling on that,” Gore told Bloomberg earlier this month.
Barring a judicial stay, states that have not submitted a plan for compliance by Sept. 6 risk having a federal plan implemented instead. Gore told Bloomberg he feels that the state still has enough time to develop a plan before that deadline.
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- On January 27, 2016