(Washington, D.C. – March 28, 2017) On the heels of the Trump Administration’s release of a sweeping executive order intended to roll back a wide array of climate and clean air protections, the Department of Justice filed a motion tonight to delay judicial review of the Clean Power Plan.
The Trump Administration is asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to hold in abeyance the legal challenges to the merits of the Clean Power Plan, notwithstanding the fact that the case has been fully briefed and was argued before the en banc court six months ago.
“We will vigorously oppose the Trump Administration’s outrageous attempt to prevent the D.C. Circuit from reaching a decision in legal challenges over the Clean Power Plan, and will continue our legal defense of this vital safeguard regardless of any change in the government’s position,” said Tomás Carbonell, Director of Regulatory Policy and Lead Attorney for Environmental Defense Fund, which is party to both cases. “The Trump Administration’s plan to roll back the Clean Power Plan will cost American lives, threaten the health of our communities, and undermine the single most important step our nation has taken to combat the urgent threat of climate change. Large majorities of Americans in red and blue states alike support the Clean Power Plan – and they want swift action to implement and strengthen this vital safeguard, not tear it down.”
The Clean Power Plan establishes the only nationwide limits on climate-destabilizing carbon pollution from existing power plants, our largest source of this pollutant. Opponents launched legal challenges against the Clean Power Plan before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency even finished writing it. It has been almost a year since briefing concluded in this case, and six months since an exhaustive, seven-hour en banc oral argument before ten judges of the D.C. Circuit.
The motion follows today’s executive order, which commands the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to review, and then “if appropriate … as soon as practicable, suspend, revise, or rescind” the Clean Power Plan. The executive order also instructs the Attorney General to “in his discretion, request that the court stay [any] litigation or otherwise delay further litigation” for the Clean Power Plan.