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U.S. Appeals Court Rejects Clean Power Plan Opposition


On Thursday, Jan. 21, U.S. federal courts declined a proposition previously made by 27 of the nation’s state governments to block President Obama’s Clean Power Plan. This proved to be an important victory for the Obama administration’s battle against climate change, as the plan was constructed to reduce carbon emissions from power plants.

These states, led by West Virginia, launched an appeal of Obama’s plan in early October. The bid has since then reached the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. The three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals has called for states to commence shutting down leading polluting coal plants and replacing them with new solar and wind sources.

The Clean Power Plan, if lawfully acted upon by each state, is predicted to reduce power plant carbon emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels in the next 15 years. These regulations could have serious financial and capability tolls on the electricity system of our nation­ — as it seeks to replace energy produced by hundreds of high polluting coal-fired power plants with energy created through wind and solar powers.

“We are pleased that the court has rejected petitioners’ attempts to block the Clean Power Plan from moving forward while litigation proceeds,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement. “We are confident that the plan will reduce carbon pollution and deliver better air quality, improved public health, and jobs across the country.”

The backlash toward Obama’s plan in the 27 states is not just a continuation of resistance of the Environmental Protection Agency. These states have economies that rely heavily on the money, employment, and accessible power that these plants have produced for years.

Opposition against Obama’s plan, led by Attorney General Patrick Morrisey of West Virginia, will not dissolve as a result of the ruling. The Court of Appeals has agreed to hear arguments for further opposition, with a date already set for June 2, 2016. However, decisions regarding this hearing likely will not be made until 2017.

Mr. Morrisey commented on the recent decision stating,“We are disappointed in today’s decision but believe we will ultimately prevail in court…We remain confident that our arguments will prevail as the case continues.” Morrisey expressed an expectation that his argument will receive attention from the Supreme Court.

Although the topic remains open for discussion, the Obama administration has expressed relief over the recent victory. With just a year left in office, the president is anxious to get his plan moving and ideally on track to reach his objective for 2030. This would be a remarkable accomplishment for Obama’s climate change activism; an achievement that could define his eight-year fight.


The New York Times, USA Today, and Reuters contributed to this post.



The New York Times, USA Today, and Reuters contributed to this post.


Image from Flickr Creative Commons (Ivan Čentéš).

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U.S. Appeals Court Rejects Clean Power Plan Opposition