For Immediate Release:
February 10, 2016

Craig Richardson
[email protected]

U.S. Supreme Court Stays Obama Clean Power Plan;
E&E Legal Part of Coalition Seeking Stay

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay halting enforcement of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) recent efforts to shut down coal-fired power plants in the United States. The rule, “Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units,” 80 Fed. Reg. 64,662 (October 23, 2015), had been challenged at the D.C. Circuit by a coalition of 27 states, numerous trade associations, utilities, power companies, unions and think tanks, including the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal). The challengers had petitioned the D.C. Circuit to review the rule and find that EPA lacked legal authority to issue it and that EPA had issued the rule in an improper fashion, including hiding the key role that climate extremist groups had played in developing the rule.

E&E Legal and other challengers had sought a stay of the rule from the D.C. Circuit, along with expedited briefing on the rule. While the D.C. Circuit agreed to hear the case quickly, and scheduled oral arguments in the case for June 2nd, 2016, it had denied the stay request.

Challengers to the rule then asked the Supreme Court to halt its implementation. Five applications for a stay were filed with the Court, including one by E&E Legal alongside Basin Electric, other utilities, unions, and trade associations.  These applications pointed to the substantial likelihood that the challengers would succeed in striking down the rule and to the significant harms the rule is already causing. Although EPA voraciously opposed the stay, yesterday the Supreme Court granted the application and stayed the rule, pending the review by the D.C. Circuit and then any appeal to the Supreme Court.

“The Supreme Court’s decision to grant this extraordinary stay shows how far beyond its proper authority EPA has ventured with this rule” stated Dr. David Schnare, a thirty-three year veteran of the EPA who is now Director of the Free Market Environmental Law Clinic, and counsel to E&E Legal. “From the start EPA has ignored the bounds of its power, and bowed to green pressure groups to craft the rule they wanted, instead of a rule the law, and the science, would support, one that wouldn’t damage the US economy and energy security. However today it was made clear the Court recognized this failing by EPA and is prepared to act.”


The Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) is a 501(c)(3) organization engaged in strategic litigation, policy research, and public education on important energy and environmental issues. Primarily through its petition litigation and transparency practice areas, E&E Legal seeks to correct onerous federal and state policies that hinder the economy, increase the cost of energy, eliminate jobs, and do little or nothing to improve the environment.