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Republican AGs Seek Supreme Court Review of Decision Striking Down Trump-Era Clean Energy Rule

  • A group of 19 Republican AGs, led by West Virginia AG Patrick Morrisey, filed a petition for a writ of certiorari seeking review of a decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that struck down the Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) Affordable Clean Energy rule, which did not mandate any emissions reductions.
  • The Affordable Clean Energy rule, promulgated by the Trump administration, addressed greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity-generation sector with the view that the Clean Air Act allowed the EPA to restrict emissions only at the source of power plants, and not throughout the whole electric grid, which was the Obama administration’s approach in its Clean Power Plan.
  • The petition argues that the lower court’s decision violates the constitutional separation of powers because it inappropriately interprets Section 111 of the Clean Air Act as authorizing EPA to exercise broad regulatory power over the energy grid without new Congressional legislation. The petition also notes that the decision ignored a February 2016 stay instituted by the Supreme Court, which arguably suggests that the Supreme Court views existing law as limiting the EPA’s authority.