Clean Power Act is stayed

The U.S. Supreme Court stopped implementation of the Clean Power Plan, granting a stay sought by Oklahoma and more than two dozen other states, utilities and coal companies.

The court ruled 5-4 to reverse an earlier decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that denied a stay on the Obama administration’s plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases from power plants.

The Supreme Court halted the plan until the appeals court could issue its decision on several lawsuits against the rule. The appellate court has consolidated those cases and scheduled oral arguments for June 2.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt said granting the stay gives states some clarity. His office joined in the stay appeal on behalf of Oklahoma and the Department of Environmental Quality.

“They can sit back, take a breath and let the legal process work,” said Pruitt. “I think at the end of the day, the Supreme Court has indicated that we’re going to win on the merits, as well. It’s a huge step, and something that illustrates how seriously the Supreme Court is taking these types of issues.”

In a statement, EPA expressed its disappointment with the stay.

“We’re disappointed the rule has been stayed, but you can’t stay climate change and you can’t stay climate action,” the agency said. “Millions of people are demanding we confront the risks posed by climate change. And we will do just that. We believe strongly in this rule and we will continue working with our partners to address carbon pollution.”

Pruitt has fought the Clean Power Plan at every stage, including in the draft stage before the rule was finalized last year. The stay from the Supreme Court was his first victory on the environmental rule.