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June 14, 2015

Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Challenge To EPA Power Plant Rule

Last week, a three-judge panel from the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a challenge by several plaintiffs regarding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed regulation governing power plant emissions. The court did not rule on the substance of the EPA’s proposed new policy, deciding instead that the plaintiff’s legal challenge was premature since the EPA has not yet issued a final regulation. 

As National Journal notes, last week’s decision does not prevent future legal challenges from moving forward and it doesn’t indicate the court will be favorable toward the EPA’s rule once it comes out. That’s because “it was highly unusual in that it attempted to challenge the legality of a federal rule before it had been made final.” Indeed, “At least two of the judges on the three-judge federal panel appeared hesitant during oral arguments in April to side with state and industry challengers, suggesting that such a move would break with long-held precedent and open the floodgates to future legal challenges against not-yet-final rules.” 

The EPA is expected to release the final versions of its new rules for power plans this August. To learn about legislation addressing the EPA’s proposed rule, click here.