U.S. Supreme Court Blocks Carbon Rules

Last Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the U.S. EPA to stop any implementation of the Clean Power Plan’s carbon emission rules until all legal arguments pending in the courts are resolved. As a result of this decision, the Obama administration cannot take any actions to implement or enforce these rules on states.

This means that states are temporarily relieved from the planning requirements and implementation deadlines that were to begin as soon as this summer. A final decision on the Clean Power Plan will likely not come until after the end of Obama’s term. Therefore, our next president could decide to repeal the rule completely, prior to it going into effect.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, along with attorneys general from 22 other states, filed the initial case that is now before the D.C. Circuit the day the carbon rules were published. The case argues that the U.S. EPA has overstepped its rulemaking authority in issuing the Clean Power Plan rules.

Twenty-nine states, including Ohio, along with 16 national business trade associations, asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene after the D.C. Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals declined to pause the implementation requirements.

So why is this case important to Ohio businesses?

The impact the Clean Power Plan would have on Ohio would be devastating. Ohio uses a significant amount of coal-generated power. The rule would likely force Ohio’s coal-fired power plants to close or undergo costly upgrades. Projections show that Ohio’s electricity rates would increase as much as 12 percent per year, and up to 17 percent in peak demand years. Right now, electricity rates in Ohio are around 10 percent below the national average, providing a competitive advantage for Ohio businesses -manufacturers in particular.

The Ohio Chamber applauds the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling and continues to support the state of Ohio’s efforts to oppose the Clean Power Plan. Through filing of a “friend of the court” amicus brief, the Ohio Chamber, along with the Texas Association of Business and Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, are leading an effort of concerned state and local chambers to warn the D.C. Circuit of the serious economic harms presented by this rule. Over 100 local chambers have already agreed to sign on to this brief, which will be filed later this month.

With the legal footing under President Obama’s Clean Power Plan now cracked, there may be an opportunity to develop a more common sense solution.