States free to move ahead with energy transition plans
A federal appeals court this week rejected a last-ditch effort by fossil fuel companies to block implementation of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which is aimed at curbing heat-trapping pollution from power plants.
An anti-environmental coalition of states and fossil fuel companies had sought an emergency stay in federal court, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today denied that request, stating that the petitioners’s claims didn’t meet the legal standard for emergency court action.
“We are gratified, though not surprised, that the court has rejected another attack on the Clean Power Plan,” said Environmental Defense Fund attorney Sean Donahue. “The Clean Power Plan itself is flexible, measured, and firmly rooted in science and law,” Donahue said.
The requests for an emergency stay of the Clean Power Plan came from a group of 15 states led by West Virginia, and from Peabody Energy Corporation, a coal company.
The same two groups filed lawsuits against the Clean Power Plan earlier – before the EPA had finalized it. In June, the D.C. Circuit Court rejected that unprecedented effort to obtain review of a proposed rule, saying they cannot review a federal standard before the conditions specified by Congress for judicial review have been satisfied.
The legal decision is the latest step in the epic battle between the dark fossil fuel lords of yesterday and the bright knights of a shining new energy economy based on renewable resources like sun and wind.
There’s no question that coal, oil and gas will be part of the energy mix for at least a few more decades. The question is, will the transition happen quickly enough to stave off climate disaster.
Along with reducing emissions significantly, the Clean Power Plan is a clear sign that the transition is under way — and that’s good news for the renewable energy industry, which hailed the court ruling.
“The decision by the court to allow states to continue work on their carbon reduction plans under the President’s Clean Power Plan is a victory for advocates of clean energy,” said Dan Whitten, vice president of communications for the Solar Energy Industries Association. “State regulators can now begin to incorporate a significantly growing role for solar power into their long-term energy planning,” he said.