Clean Power Plan: Legal Background and Pending Litigation in 'West Virginia v. EPA' [January 10, 2017] [open pdf - 978KB]
"On October 23, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its final Clean Power Plan rule (Rule) to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), specifically carbon dioxide (CO2), from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants. The aim of the Rule, according to EPA, is to help protect human health and the environment from the impacts of climate change. The Clean Power Plan would require states to submit plans to achieve state-specific CO2 goals reflecting emission performance rates or emission levels for predominantly coal- and gas-fired power plants, with a series of interim goals culminating in final goals by 2030. The Clean Power Plan has been one of the more singularly controversial environmental regulations ever promulgated by EPA, and the controversy is reflected in the enormous multi-party litigation over the Rule ongoing in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit). Numerous petitions challenging the Clean Power Plan have been consolidated into one case, 'West Virginia v. EPA.' [...] This report provides legal background on the Rule, its Clean Air Act (CAA) framework under Section 111, and climate-related lawsuits that have preceded the present litigation over the Clean Power Plan. It then gives an overview of the participants in the current litigation, including two groups of Members of Congress, who have offered briefs in support of both sides. This report highlights the major events in the litigation as of the date of publication, including the Supreme Court stay and oral argument, and the likely timetable of events in the near term."
CRS Report for Congress, R44480
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html