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October 3, 2016

Circuit Court Hears Arguments In Case Challenging EPA Clean Power Plan

Last Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia heard the case, brought by dozens of U.S. states and trade associations, challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan (CPP). In an effort to reduce carbon emissions by 32 percent from their 2005 levels by 2030, the CPP requires each U.S. state to develop a plan to curb emissions from existing power plants. 

Analysts who watched the proceedings said it was unclear which way the court is leaning on the legality of the regulation. According to Morning Consult, “D.C. Circuit Court judges seemed skeptical of both sides in Tuesday's arguments over the Clean Power Plan. They questioned opponents' claim that it's illegal for the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate states’ holistic energy systems rather than individual power plants, but some said such a major rule should be put in place by Congress.” According to Greenwire, the outcome in the case “could hinge on judges’ conclusions about how clearly Congress had to spell out the authority for U.S. EPA to issue the rule.” 

Studies have concluded that, with the Clean Power Plan in place:

  • 40 statescould have average retail electricity price increases of 10 percent or more;
  • 17 states could have average retail electricity price increases of 20 percent or more;
  • Ten states could have average retail electricity price increases of 30 percent or more;
  • Two states, North Dakota and Utah, could see rate increases of 43 percent;
  • Americans could lose between $64 billion and $79 billion in disposable income; and
  • The U.S. economy could lose as many as 34,000 jobs by 2030.

The circuit court is expected to rule on this issue some time between November of this year and February 2017. What is one easy way you can oppose the EPA’s costly rule? The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has created an online petition that will send a message to the EPA. MSCI encourages its members to add their name to this campaign.