In August 2015, for the first time, the federal government issued regulations on carbon emissions from power plants. The rules included an interim goal and a final goal for each state of allowable CO2 emissions with the overarching goal of cutting carbon pollution by 32 percent by 2030. The rules assume that states will meet these targets through improved efficiency of existing plants and shifting electricity generation away from fossil fuels, like coal, toward lower emitting sources like natural gas and renewables.
These rules are highly controversial and lawsuits were filed immediately upon finalization of the rule. In addition, opponents requested that a stay be imposed on implementation of the rules until all legal challenges were exhausted.
As expected, the DC Circuit denied the request for the stay of the rule. But in a remarkably unprecedented decision, the Supreme Court reversed the appellate court and imposed the stay. Therefore, the rule is on hold pending all legal challenges.
The DC Circuit will hear arguments on the underlying regulation in September and a decision is expected after the November election. Undoubtedly the decision will be appealed to the Supreme Court.