NRECA Asks Court to Hold EPA Case

A federal appeals court should withhold any action on litigation involving the Clean Power Plan until the Environmental Protection Agency has reviewed it pursuant to a recent order by President Trump.

NRECA is asking a federal court to delay litigation on the Clean Power Plan that could have a dramatic effect on coal plants, such as this one in Florida. (Photo By: Garrett Hubbard Studios)

NRECA is asking a federal court to delay litigation on the Clean Power Plan that could have a dramatic effect on coal plants, such as this one in Florida. (Photo By: Garrett Hubbard Studios)

That's what NRECA, dozens of states and nearly 100 other energy and utility stakeholders told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in a petition filed April 6. The D.C. Circuit is expected to act on the petition in the next several weeks.

In addition to the president's order, NRECA and the other petitioners pointed out that the Supreme Court took an unusual move to stay the plan before the lower court acted on the rule that targets carbon dioxide emissions from coal generation.

Even if the D.C. Circuit upholds the rule, the Clean Power Plan cannot take immediate effect because of the Supreme Court stay.

"There is thus no possibility of harm to other parties or the public interest from a delay in this court's consideration of the case while EPA revisits the rule," NRECA and petitioners said.

The court could require EPA to give periodic status reports of its Clean Power Plan review, allowing litigation to resume if the agency fails to do its job, the petitioners added. They also cited numerous cases where the court held cases in abeyance under similar circumstances.

On March 28, President Trump ordered EPA to review and rescind any portion of the Clean Power Plan that did not meet certain goals for energy independence and economic growth.

The goals include ensuring that "electricity is affordable, reliable, safe, secure, and clean, and that it can be produced from coal, natural gas, nuclear material, flowing water, and other domestic sources, including renewable sources," according to Trump's order.

"If allowed to proceed, the CPP would force the premature closure of co-op power plants and hit many of our electric cooperatives extremely hard," said NRECA CEO Jim Matheson.

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