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The group of 17 states which backed the Clean Power Plan filed a legal challenge Wednesday urging the DC Circuit Court of Appeals to ignore the Trump administration's request to stay legal proceedings in the Clean Power Plan suit.
The challenge alleges that the federal government has a responsibility to regulate emissions from power plants and that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's "vague" plans to review the Clean Power Plan could cause an "indefinite delay" in the process.
"EPA fails to justify its unprecedented request for an open-ended abeyance at this late stage of litigation: more than six months after the en banc court heard a full day of oral argument," the states wrote.
"This case is ripe for decision now, and nothing that EPA has proposed to do obviates the need for this court's review. Indefinitely deferring a decision here, as EPA requests, would waste the substantial resources already expended in this litigation by the parties and this court."
Environmental groups, including the Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council, filed a similar brief Wednesday, saying the delay "would have the effect of improperly suspending the rule without review by any court, without any explanation and without mandatory administrative process. The agency cannot be allowed to accomplish through abeyance something it cannot do on its own: an indefinite suspension of a duly promulgated rule without judicial review, without a notice and comment rulemaking and without any reasoned explanation."
The coalition of states include attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington—along with the District of Columbia and other smaller localities.
"The law is clear: the EPA must limit carbon pollution from power plants," New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. "In order to repeal Obama-era protections, the Trump administration must replace those protections, as well—and we know how well repeal-and-replace went the first time around. My office will continue to defend the Clean Power Plan and aggressively oppose any effort to stand down from our shared responsibility to protect our environment and our climate."
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