Like many Obama-era regulations, the Clean Power Plan was facing ongoing litigation by NFIB and other business groups the day that President Trump took office. On March 28, President Trump signed an executive order directing the EPA to begin reviewing the Clean Power Plan to determine if it needed to be revised or even rescinded. While the EPA reviews this burdensome rule that, if implemented, would significantly increase electricity costs for small businesses and all Americans, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard NFIB’s challenge to the rule in September, must decide what it will do with the case.
On Monday, May 15, environmental groups that support the Clean Power Plan argued that the court should remand the rule back to EPA. NFIB and other opponents of the rule, however, argued that the court should simply put the case on hold. That will ensure that the valuable work the court has already done is not lost and will give the EPA the time it needs to review the rule.
The Trump Administration agrees with NFIB and other business groups. “Abeyance is the proper course of action because it would better preserve the status quo, conserve judicial resources, and allow the new administration to focus squarely on completing its current review of the Clean Power Plan as expeditiously as possible,” argued counsel for the EPA and Justice Department in a brief.
NFIB, other business groups, and the many states that oppose the plan argued that holding the rule in abeyance would allow the stay issued by the Supreme Court to remain in effect while the EPA reconsiders the Obama-era rule in light of President Trump’s March 28 Executive Order.
“We are extremely pleased by the President’s focus on bringing down the cost of energy, including traditional sources of energy,” said NFIB president and CEO Juanita Duggan in a press release. “We are especially pleased by his decision to reconsider the Clean Power rule, which is an unnecessary expansion of the EPA’s power that would have sharply increased electricity costs.
“Small businesses rely heavily on affordable, reliable electricity. The EPA Clean Power rule is a double-barrel threat: It would drive up small business operating expenses and it would hit their customers in the wallet. Higher costs and lower consumer demand is a recipe for slower growth.”