OK Energy Today – Oklahoma and the dozens of other states who sued the federal government in a challenge of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan have urged a Washington, D.C. federal court to strike down the rule. They made a joint opening brief in the case and called the rule a “breathtaking” expansion of the EPA’s authority and accused the agency of an “audacious assertion of authority” in using Section 111 of the Clean Air Act to issue the plan.
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and other attorneys general have been fighting the rule since last year, contending the rule that would slash carbon emissions of existing power plants would result in higher utility rates for consumers. Oklahoma is one of 27 states that filed lawsuits challenging the Clean Power Plan. It was also challenged by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce along with trade associations, utilities and mining interests.
Adding to the politics of the lawsuit was the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia who earlier in February cast what some called a “pivotal” vote to stay the regulation while the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard the lawsuit. It was a 5-4 ruling and oral arguments are scheduled to be held in early June. If the arguments result in a 4-4 split, upholding the D.C. Circuit’s decision, the new rule would be allowed because the decision would be decided by the original ruling of the lower court.
Much also depends on whether President Obama’s nominee to replace the late Justice Scalia is confirmed and sworn in by June. A new justice would likely vote with other liberal-leaning justices on the court who support the plan.