White House

E&E News' Lehmann talks executive action on power plan, next steps for litigation

Following E&E News' report this week citing a source saying the White House plans to undo the Clean Power Plan without providing a replacement, what are the next steps for litigation and what is the fate of the endangerment finding? On today's The Cutting Edge, E&E News reporter Evan Lehmann discusses the latest on the executive order that is expected to be rolled out next week.


Monica Trauzzi: Welcome to The Cutting Edge. An executive order on the Clean Power Plan expected next week and now new details on what could be included. E&E News reporter, White House reporter Evan Lehmann has been at the lead of this story all week. Evan, you reported new details this week on how the White House plans to navigate the future of the Clean Power Plan. What's the latest?

Evan Lehmann: Thanks Monica. So the executive order, which may come out next week, spells out a couple new things that we found out, and perhaps the biggest one is that it doesn't replace the Clean Power Plan and that could raise legal objections. It will raise legal objections among environmentalists and state attorney generals for not satisfying the endangerment finding.

Monica Trauzzi: Instructions are expected to be given to the Justice Department as well on how to handle the case that's currently before the D.C. Circuit. What did your source tell you?

Evan Lehmann: So the EO essentially requires DOJ to go to the court and say, "Freeze this case." As you'll remember, the case received oral arguments in September. They are supposed to deliver an opinion this spring. The executive order seeks to freeze that opinion.

Monica Trauzzi: So do these actions all kind of point to this idea that the White House may be considering reopening the endangerment finding?

Evan Lehmann: So that's an open question and it's a big one. There are different viewpoints within the White House on this issue. There are some strong viewpoints against doing that because it could essentially be a Hail Mary, and what happens with Hail Marys? They sometimes get intercepted.

So opponents of reopening the endangerment finding think that if you do it, you could go to the D.C. Circuit and lose, you could go to the Supreme Court and it's the same court that ruled and it'd essentially be the same makeup of the court that rules in Mass. versus EPA and you could have a negative precedent against rolling back the endangerment finding, some of these sources say.

Monica Trauzzi: So certainly the legal landscape is going to be a little convoluted, and environmental lawyers will be busy for sure.

Evan Lehmann: That is for sure.

Monica Trauzzi: All right. Great reporting. We'll end it there. Thank you so much for joining me.

Evan Lehmann: Thanks.

Monica Trauzzi: More Cutting Edge coming next Friday. We'll see you then.

[End of Audio]



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