Court OKs Trump's request to pause litigation

A federal court today agreed to pause the massive litigation over the Obama administration's rule for limiting carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit granted the Trump administration's motion to hold the case in abeyance for 60 days. The court directed parties to file briefs addressing the future of the litigation.

The full court heard nearly seven hours of oral arguments in September 2016 on the Clean Power Plan but had yet to issue a decision on the legality of the rule, which was stayed by the Supreme Court earlier last year.

The government asked to pause the case in response to President Trump's executive order in March calling on federal agencies to reconsider a number of Obama administration climate policies, including the Clean Power Plan.

"EPA should be afforded the opportunity to fully review the Clean Power Plan and respond to the president's direction in a manner that is consistent with the terms of the executive order, the Clean Air Act, and the agency's inherent authority to reconsider past decisions," the Justice Department told the court (Energywire, March 29).

Environmentalists and state supporters of the Clean Power Plan had urged the court to reject the request.

They argued that halting the case now would be unprecedented and that the litigation raised several questions that would still be relevant no matter what the Trump administration did with the rule.

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