West Virginia v. EPA (2015)
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Multi-state intervention to join EPA’s defense of Clean Power Plan against challenge mounted by other states and industry petitioners.
Topic: Climate Change Mitigation
Type of action: Defense of Federal Standards
States involved: California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington
Summary: On October 23, 2015, the EPA published the final rule commonly known as the Clean Power Plan. If ultimately enacted, the Clean Power Plan would be the first national regulatory standard to address greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Even prior to its final promulgation, West Virginia and a group of states filed suit in the DC Circuit that was dismissed as premature. Once it was finally released by the EPA, West Virginia and its partners challenged the law in the DC Circuit, alleging that it exceeded the EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act.
On November 3, 2015, California and 17 other states, along with the District of Columbia, intervened in the litigation in support of the EPA. Initially, the DC Circuit denied a motion to stay the rule on January 21, 2016. Weeks later, the Supreme Court reversed and postponed implementation of the rule pending a decision on the merits from the DC Circuit (and any potential Supreme Court review). The DC Circuit heard arguments on the merits of the Clean Power Plan on September 27 2016. The outcome of the Clean Power Plan is currently in flux following the election, but the litigation is ongoing.