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What to Look for When EPA Publishes Its Final Guidelines to Curb Carbon Pollution

thompson-jake-nrdcAny day now, the Federal Register will publish the Environmental Protection Agency’s final standards to curb carbon pollution from power plants. That will trigger a stampede to the courthouse by the pollution industry and their allies seeking to block the Obama Administration’s historic efforts to combat dangerous climate change.

Here’s what else we know: Legal and political challenges to the Clean Power Plan are likely to fail because climate change is too big a problem to be denied and the climate action train has left the station. We’d encourage you to take a look at what’s already transpired this year and since President Obama announced the Clean Power Plan on August 3rd. 

In Congress

In Congress, the chief weapon available to Republican majorities in both houses is the Congressional Review Act, which they can use to try to block the Clean Power Plan standards.

A CRA “resolution of disapproval” can’t be filibustered and can pass by majority vote. But it does not become law without the president’s signature, and a resolution against the Clean Power Plan would be DOA at the White House. The GOP lacks the votes to override a presidential veto.

Other congressional legislative roadblocks also are likely to fall short because they, too, lack the votes to override a presidential veto.

In the States 

Around the country, nearly every state is working with its power companies and other stakeholders to develop a state plan to implement the Clean Power Plan by reducing carbon pollution, and expanding clean energy and improving energy efficiency.  Only one state, Oklahoma, has committed to follow Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s advice to “just say no” to the EPA standards.

In some states that are suing EPA, the state’s top officials are divided. In Missouri, Michigan and Colorado, attorneys general are suing EPA, but governors are committed to writing state plans to reduce carbon pollution, and expand clean energy and improve energy efficiency. Governors are working on state plans even in states where they back the legal challenge.

In the Courts 

Many states are backing the Clean Power Plan. At least 15 attorneys general have vowed to defend the Clean Power Plan in court. The legal challenges to the CPP are likely to fail for reasons outlined in a NRDC fact sheet on what to expect in this litigation, and why the Clean Power Plan is on solid legal footing, here.

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