WASHINGTON, Feb. 10, 2016 - In a 5-4 decision Tuesday, the Supreme Court ordered a halt to enforcement of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) until legal challenges are resolved. Twenty-seven states have challenged the CPP in court, arguing that the plan oversteps federal authority to limit carbon emissions and that they would have to invest billions of dollars to comply.

States aren’t required to comply with the new rules until 2022, but must submit their plans to the Environmental Protection Administration by September or seek an extension.

The D.C. Circuit Court is slated to review the merits of the many lawsuits challenging the plan on June 2.

The plan would impose carbon dioxide emissions limits for the first time on existing power plants. The plan also gives the states wide leeway on how to reduce CO2 emissions, and EPA has said “sustainably-derived agricultural and forest biomass feedstocks” are acceptable for use in state plans to reduce CO2. The new rules are considered essential to the United States meeting emissions-reduction targets in a global climate agreement signed in Paris last month.

U.S. Sen. John Thune, R- S.D., welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision. “Even after Congress and the American people rejected Obama’s national energy tax, he still chose to move forward with his far-reaching regulations regardless of the effect on family budgets. The result of the president’s determination to circumvent Congress and appease international negotiators in Paris is a paper-thin legacy composed of executive actions like his expensive regulations on affordable energy that risk being overturned in the future.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the administration will continue to "take aggressive steps to make forward progress to reduce carbon emissions."


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