States, Environmental Groups Tell Court Dismissal of Clean Power Plan Lawsuit is Premature

A broad coalition of 17 states, 6 cities and counties, and 16 environmental and public health organizations is asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit not to drop litigation about the Clean Power Plan at this time.

The coalition, including EDF, filed a response asking the court to deny requests to dismiss the lawsuit because those requests were prematurely filed.

The Clean Power Plan established America’s first and only nationwide limit on carbon pollution from existing power plants. It would reduce climate pollution to 36 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and would also reduce deadly soot and smog.

Opponents sued to stop the Clean Power Plan, and the D.C. Circuit heard oral argument en banc on September 27, 2016. The case is still pending.

On June 19, 2019, the Trump administration finalized a rule to scrap the Clean Power Plan and replace it with a toothless substitute that will provide no meaningful reduction in dangerous climate pollution — and could even lead to pollution increases in many parts of the country. Lawsuits already have been filed with the D.C. Circuit opposing that replacement rule.

Last week, Clean Power Plan opponents asked the D.C. Circuit to drop its case entirely, saying the new Trump administration rule makes it moot.

Today, EDF and others argued that the request to drop the case is premature because the weak replacement rule will not go into effect until September 6, 2019.

Meanwhile, while the Trump administration is working to roll back the Clean Power Plan and scuttle the lawsuits involving it, states and power companies across the country are moving ahead to reduce climate pollution from power plants – in some cases by much more than the Clean Power Plan called for.

“Industry progress shows us that the Clean Power Plan’s goals can be reached – and in fact, we can do much more,” said d EDF Lead Attorney Tomás Carbonell. “EPA should be embracing and accelerating that trend, not dismantling vital protections like the Clean Power Plan.”

Along with EDF, the response was file by the states of California, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Virginia, Oregon, Vermont and Washington, the cities of New York, Boulder, Chicago, Philadelphia and South Miami, and Broward County in Florida. The American Lung Association, Clean Air Council, Clean Wisconsin, Conservation Law Foundation, Ohio Environmental Council, Center for Biological Diversity, Earthjustice, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Western Highlands Conservancy, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Coal River Mountain Watch, Kanawha Forest Coalition, Mon Valley Clean Air Coalition and Keepers of the Mountains Foundation also joined today’s filing.

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