02.11.16

Clean Power Plan

WASHINGTON D.C. — A divided Supreme Court agreed to halt enforcement of President Barack Obama's sweeping plan to address climate change until after legal challenges are resolved. By issuing the temporary freeze, a 5-4 majority of the Justices signaled that opponents made strong arguments against the rules. The high court's four liberal justices said they would have denied the request for delay.

The Obama administration's plan aims to stave off the worst predicted impacts of climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions at existing power plants by about one-third by 2030.The surprising move is a blow to the administration and a victory for the coalition of 27 mostly Republican-led states and industry opponents that call the regulations "an unprecedented power grab." By issuing the temporary freeze, a 5-4 majority of the justices signaled that opponents made strong arguments against the rules. The high court's four liberal Justices said  they would have denied the request for delay. "We disagree with the supreme court's decision to stay the clean power plan while litigation proceeds," White House Spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement,   Earnest added that the clean power plan is based on a strong legal and technical foundation, gives states the time and flexibility they need to develop tailored, cost-effective plans to reduce their emissions, and will deliver better air quality, improved public health, clean energy investment and jobs across the country, and major progress in our efforts to confront the risks posed by climate change.

House of Representatives Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said, "The Supreme Court's deeply misguided decision to stay the implementation of the clean power plan will enable those states that deny climate science to slow progress in reducing the carbon pollution that threatens the health of all Americans. Proponents of the clean power plan say that jobs were cut due to the oversupply of coal before the plan was put into place.

West Virginia's Republican Attorney General approves of the recent Supreme Court ruling regarding coal emissions. In a news conference, Attorney General Morrisey and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, which are two states that depend on the energy sector for tax revenue, recognized the monumental Supreme Court ruling which blocks the Environmental Protection Agency from enforcing its clean power plan until the court challenge concludes.  The five to four vote halts the EPA's power plan by narrowly agreeing with West Virginia and its mostly Republican coalition of over 25 states. Morrisey says the job for West Virginia is far from over. But, Morrisey wasn't the only one praising the Supreme Court's decision. In a statement, Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) says, quote: "The Supreme Court decision recognizes Americans should not continue to bear the brunt of this administration's costly regulations when there are serious doubts about their legality." end quote. Overall she says this is a win for West Virginia, and that she's not the only Senator that thinks so. In an interview with Newswatch's David Miller, Senator Capito said, "I've had discussions with a lot of my colleagues about the legality of what the President's doing, how it's harming economically great parts of this nation, particularly where we live." This is not Senator Capito's first attempt to curb the clean power plan.  In May of 2015, Senator Capito introduced the Affordable Reliable Energy Now Act, also known as ARENA, which included a provision to extend the clean power plan's compliance dates pending final judicial review, including the submission of state plans.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin does not expect West Virginia to submit compliance plans for carbon emissions standards from coal-fired power plants while the federal regulation remains in court proceedings. Tomblin spokeswoman, Shayna Varner said Wednesday, it's hard to imagine court proceedings being complete by September's submission date for state implementation plans. Opponents say that fighting the clean power plan doesn't re-open mines or get West Virginians back to work. Varner says Tomblin's Environmental Agency will keep working on a feasibility study of complying with the regulation, as a bill passed last year requires. Varner says Gov. Tomblin is pleased with the stay.


By:  David Miller
Source: WOAY