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Court ices legal challenge to EPA's carbon standards for new power plants

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Court ices legal challenge to EPA's carbon standards for new power plants

A federal appeals court has benched indefinitely litigation involving the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's carbon emissions standards for new fossil fuel power plants.

In a short order issued Aug. 10, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit extended a previous abeyance of the litigation until further order of the court. The new source performance standards are related to the Clean Power Plan, and both are on hold while the EPA conducts reviews in line with a directive from President Donald Trump. With respect to the new source standards, the EPA was instructed by circuit judges Sri Srinivasan, Karen LeCraft Henderson and Cornelia Pillard to file status reports on its review every 90 days, and the court proceedings will resume within 30 days after the EPA concludes its review and any associated regulatory actions.

An abeyance of the Clean Power Plan litigation similarly was extended Aug. 8, but the D.C. Circuit in that case did not go so far as to place the legal challenge on hold indefinitely. Moreover, two of the judges issued a concurrence warning to the EPA of further delay in regulating greenhouse gases.

The EPA's July 31 status report regarding the new source standards provided few new details, other than to advise that the review of the rule mandated by the president's executive order is ongoing. The agency requested that the matter continue to be held in abeyance.

The case is State of North Dakota et al. v. U.S. EPA (No. 15-1381).