In a delay for the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit yesterday said the full court will hear oral arguments on the carbon emissions rule on Sept. 27. A three-judge panel had been scheduled to hear the case on June 2.
The Clean Power Plan requires existing coal-burning power plants to cut carbon emissions by 32 percent by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. Twenty-seven states and several industry groups have challenged the new regulations in court. In February the Supreme Court stayed implementation of the rule while the lower court determines its legality.
Yesterday’s decision to hear the Clean Power Plan ‘en banc’ is unprecedented, Jeffrey Holmstead, a partner at Bracewell LLP representing the American Coalition of Clean Coal Electricity, told Bloomberg BNA. “I can’t think of another case where before the case was argued before the panel, the full panel stepped in and said, ‘We want to hear this en banc,’ especially when nobody asked for it,” Holmstead said.
In an email, Environmental Defense Fund said the court’s action may speed up a decision in the carbon pollution regulation. “Today’s order will enable the full DC Circuit to resolve the legal challenges to the Clean Power Plan immediately and without delay,” said Tomás Carbonell, director of regulatory policy and lead attorney at EDF, which is a party to the case.
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