Power Plant Climate Case Gets Judges, but Will It Be Argued?

By Andrew Childers

The Trump administration could be racing against the clock to roll back the EPA’s climate change regulations after a federal appeals court assigns judges to hear an upcoming argument over federal carbon dioxide limits for new power plants.

Challenges to the Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon dioxide new source performance standards will be heard by Judges Sri Srinivasan and Cornelia Pillard—both appointed by President Barack Obama—and Judge Karen Lecraft Henderson, a President George H.W. Bush appointee ( North Dakota v. EPA, D.C. Cir., No. 15-1381, argument panel assigned 3/20/17 ).

Assigning the argument panel shows that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is ready to move forward with the case despite expectations the new administration would seek to revoke or reconsider the rule.

The Trump administration has promised to roll back the Obama EPA’s climate initiatives, with an executive order giving that direction expected soon. But the D.C. Circuit will hear arguments in the case April 17. So far, the Trump administration has not asked the court to either delay the case or send the carbon dioxide standards back to the EPA for reconsideration.

Readying to Defend Rule

Supporters of the EPA’s carbon dioxide standards are preparing to defend the rule if the case does continue to argument.

“We’re preparing to go forward. We’re expecting this hearing to happen. We’ll see what they will argue,” Vera Pardee, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity, told Bloomberg BNA.

The carbon dioxide standards for new power plants (RIN:2060-AQ91) were issued jointly with comparable limits for existing units, known as the Clean Power Plan (RIN:2060-AR33). Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA must regulate carbon dioxide from new power plants before it can regulate the existing fleet.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was among the leading challengers to the Clean Power Plan when he served as Oklahoma’s attorney general.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Childers in Washington at AChilders@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at lpearl@bna.com

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