Clean Power Plan Stays…For Now

Another attempt to quash the Clean Power Plan bites the dust—for the time being.
By Anna Simet | January 22, 2016

Another attempt to quash the Clean Power Plan bites the dust—at least for the time being.

This week, a federal court has blocked a motion by 27 states and various energy industry stakeholders—trade groups, electric cooperatives, public policy orgs, etc.—for a stay of it. The U.S. EPA has said it believes the CPP will be upheld in court, and it was right.

Though the order is to continue with immediate compliance, it’s not over quite yet. The court has asked that by Jan. 27, the parties submit a proposed format for the briefing of all the issues in these cases (that the plan is too costly to implement, the EPA has overstepped its authority, etc.). Oral arguments will begin on June 2.

This isn’t the first, and certainly not the last attempt to get rid of the CPP. Just a little while back, the House and Senate both voted to block it, attempts that were vetoed by President Obama.

I think the big question right now is: What’s going to happen after the November election? A lot of “ifs” here,  but if Congress remains Republican-dominated and we see Rubio, Cruz, Trump or Carson move into the White House, there’s a good chance that the CPP will, at the very least, be unenforced.  They’ve all already made it clear that they don’t support it, or climate science in general.

Here are some possibilities in regard to what could happen:

-The House and Senate continue to be dominated by Republicans, and they vote to kill the plan. The new Republican president signs the bill. Would the EPA have to go through an entirely new rulemaking process to “undo” the rule? I don’t know the process specifics on this, but I imagine it would be a long, drawn-out and complicated process.

-A Democrat is elected and enforces the plan. The Democrats take over the House and Senate and the CPP progresses as mapped out.

-A Republican president is elected, but either the House or Senate becomes controlled by Democrats. Bills to kill the plan are blocked, but the president does not enforce the plan and it withers, or is incredibly weak. Or it becomes a bargaining chip when it comes to budget deals, and is potentially defunded.

-A Democratic president is elected, and the House and Senate continue to try to pass resolutions to kill the plan, but they are vetoed and the CPP moves forward.

Only time will tell.

And a quick side note: A while back, I reported that the EPA announced it was going to hold a workshop on biomass in the CPP. I checked in with them this morning to see if anything had been nailed down yet as far as a date goes, but was told that it hasn’t. We’ll let you know as soon as we know.