HomeWashington Letter2016 ▶ U.S. Supreme Court Stays EPA Clean Power Plan
U.S. Supreme Court Stays EPA Clean Power Plan

February 2016

In a surprising and unprecedented move last week, the U.S. Supreme Court, by a vote of 5-4, issued a stay of the EPA's regulation to reduce carbon pollution from power plants.  The stay was issued without explanation.  While the court action does not strike down the rule or imply making any decisions on the legal merits of the rule, the court ordered stay does mean that EPA cannot enforce the Clean Power Plan until all legal challenges to the rule have been resolved.

What makes the stay unprecedented is that the court issued its decision before the lower courts had made any rulings on the merit of the Clean Power Plan.  Prior to this action, the Supreme Court has always allowed lower courts – in this case the DC District Court of Appeals – to proceed before issuing a stay order.

While the decision does not predispose the outcome of the federal court's review of the clean power plan, the stay adds harmful delay to our urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reap the clean air co-benefits that are also part of the Clean Power Plan.

As a participant in the underlying court action, the ATS looks forward to making a compelling case for why implementation of the clean power plan is central to improving human health and to mitigating the serious hazards of global climate change.

Last Reviewed: October 2017