Wave of litigation hits Obama climate rule

The publication of the EPA’s carbon rule for power plants has prompted a flurry of legal and legislative action, ushering in a lengthy battle over the future of the Obama administration’s key climate change initiative.


More than two dozen states and a slew of interest groups and companies sued over the Clean Power Plan on Friday after it was published in the Federal Register.


Leading state attorneys general called the rule an illegal expansion of federal power that they said will have a dramatic impact on electricity pricing, grid reliability and jobs.
On Capitol Hill, Republicans geared up for their own attempt at repealing the rule, perhaps forcing a veto from President Obama.


The Clean Power Plan is intended to cut carbon emissions from the power sector by 32 percent over the next 15 years by assigning carbon targets to states and asking them to find ways to hit them.


The rule, finalized in August, is the centerpiece of Obama’s climate agenda — but its sweeping scope and strict standards make it an especially contentious regulation.


Conservatives and coal-state lawmakers say the rule threatens to wipe out American jobs and hobble the economy.


The House has passed a bill undoing the Clean Power Plan and a Senate committee has done the same. But members had to wait until after the publication of the rule to unveil Congressional Review Act (CRA) challenges, something they intend to do as early as next week.


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and a bipartisan group of members will introduce CRA resolutions against the Clean Power Plan on Monday. McConnell is set to schedule a vote on the measure shortly afterward.


In a statement, McConnell repeated his long-held argument against the regulations: that they will hurt his state’s coal industry by forcing a transition to cleaner energy.


“Here’s what is lost in this administration’s crusade for ideological purity: the livelihoods of our coal miners and their families,” he said in a statement.


“I have vowed to do all I can to fight back against this administration on behalf of the thousands of Kentucky coal miners and their families, and this CRA is another tool in that battle. The CRAs that we will file will allow Congress the ability to fight these anti-coal regulations.”


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