U.S. Supreme Court Halts Implementation of Clean Power Plan

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay of the Administration's Clean Power Plan (CPP) for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The 5-4 ruling halts implementation of the CPP while the rule is under review at the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.

"Cities will continue to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change, but we need a federal partner to truly make a difference in our communities," said Clarence E. Anthony, NLC CEO and executive director in a statement. "Yesterday's action by the Supreme Court is a huge setback in a time of growing momentum among local leaders to work together to solve many of our most pressing climate challenges."

In January, NLC filed a motion for leave to participate as an amici curiae ("friend of the court") in support of EPA's Clean Power Plan Rule, which will hear oral arguments in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals on June 2. In addition to NLC and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the following cities have joined the motion: Baltimore, MD; Coral Gables, FL; Grand Rapids, MI; Houston, TX; Jersey City, NJ; Los Angeles, CA; Minneapolis, MN; Portland, OR; Pinecrest, FL; Providence, RI; Salt Lake City, UT; San Francisco, CA; West Palm Beach, FL; and Boulder County, CO. 

According to a White House statement after the Supreme Court ruling, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency "has indicated it will work with states that choose to continue [state implementation] plan development and will prepare the tools those states will need." The Supreme Court's decision, at a minimum, will likely push back the CPP timeframe for states to submit a State Implementation Plan, and without financial resources for states, as none were provided in the FY16 and are likely not be appropriated in the FY17 budget, states will likely abandon specific actions toward CPP compliance, such as developing the implementation plan.

There will be two upcoming conference calls to learn more about the impact of the Clean Power Plan stay on local governments.

EPA conference call with Acting Assistant Administrator Janet McCabe
When: Tuesday, February 16
Time: 1-2 pm EST
Participant Dial-in Number: 877-290-8017
Conference ID#: 52665151
Please dial in 10 minutes before the start time to ensure your participation.

EPA firmly believes the Clean Power Plan will be upheld when the courts address its merits because the Clean Power Plan rests on strong scientific and legal foundations. During the pendency of the stay, implementation and enforcement of the Clean Power Plan are on hold. During the stay, EPA will continue to work with states that want to work with us on a voluntary basis. Acting Assistant Administrator Janet McCabe will discuss the recent Supreme Court stay of implementation and enforcement of the Clean Power Plan pending judicial review.

NLC Call - Clean Power Plan Stay: What does it Mean for Cities and States?
When: Monday, February 22
Time: 1:30-2 pm EST
Participant Dial-in Number: 888-608-3665
Conference ID#: 758-293-4439

Tom Lorenzen, Crowell & Moring, will provide background on the CPP and an overview of the legal issues. Michael Burger, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, who filed a motion in the D.C. Circuit on behalf of the National League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors supporting the CPP, will discuss how the stay will work and what it means for states and local governments.