In a big victory for the Obama administration, a U.S. federal court on Thursday rejected a bid by 27 states to block its Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of its strategy to combat climate change by reducing carbon emissions from power plants.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a brief order denying an application seeking to stay the rule while litigation continues.
The states, led by West Virginia, and several major business groups in October launched the legal challenges seeking to block the Obama administration’s proposal to curb carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.
More than a dozen other states and the National League of Cities, which represents more than 19,000 U.S. cities, filed court papers backing the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule.
The rule aims to lower carbon emissions from the country’s power plants by 2030 to 32 percent below 2005 levels. It is the main tool for the United States to meet the emissions reduction target it pledged at U.N. climate talks in Paris last month.
“We are confident that the plan will reduce carbon pollution and deliver better air quality, improved public health, and jobs across the country,” the White House said in a statement on Thursday.
The court action means the regulation remains in place but it is not the final word in the legal fight. The appeals court still has to hear oral arguments on June 2 and decide whether the regulation is lawful.