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States urge Supreme Court to block clean power plan

[JURIST] Representatives from 29 states on Tuesday asked [application, PDF] the US Supreme Court [official website] to block the he implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Power Plan (CPP) [materials]. The plan seeks to eliminate the amount of carbon emissions through reducing coal and oil production by shifting to other forms of clean energy. West Virginia, Texas and Oklahoma, which lead the nation in oil and coal production, and the 26 other states argue that the final rule amounts to extensive overreach of EPA power and irreparable harm to the states and their economies. In their motion the states insist that not only is there currently a reduction in carbon emission but also a shift to the new forms of energy would create burden on states to create new technologies, update facilities, and educate or retire staff:

Absent a stay, the Power Plan will have massive and immediate impacts on both sides of the generation shifting equation, none of which is in the public interest. As noted above, EPA's own modeling demonstrates that that the "shift" the Power Plan portends will lead to closures of numerous coal-fired power plants in 2016 alone. ... This modeling is based upon the well-accepted understanding that owners and operators of coal-fired power plants, including those plants already straining under Section 112 requirements, will not make the additional costly investments necessary to keep operations running in the face of the Plan's effective mandate that those owners "shift" to competitor industries. The shutdown of these plants will cause the closures of related coal mines,resulting in the loss of jobs in some of this country's most economically depressed, rural communities
Chief Justice John Roberts requested [SCOTUSblog report] that the EPA respond to the petition by February 4.

The petition comes after a federal appeals court refused [JURIST report] last week to block the plan's implementation. Regulating power plant emissions has been a contentious issue. A highly divided US Supreme Court ruled [opinion, PDF] 5-4 last June that the EPA could not make regulations [JURIST report] regarding the toxic emissions of power plants without considering costs. In August the EPA proposed new rules [JURIST report] to cut methane emissions by the oil and gas industry, as part of the Obama administration's commitment to taking action on climate change.

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