Why Did the Supreme Court Put Obama’s Clean Power Plan on Hold?

The plan seeks to reduce carbon dioxide emission by 2030, but some states put up a fight.

By Rhonda FanningFebruary 11, 2016 2:30 pm,

Attorney General Ken Paxton has scored a victory in the Supreme Court. The suit is a multi-state effort – 29 in all – to block President Barack Obama’s plan to force states to make coal-fired power plants clean up their act.

The Obama administration wants states to shift away from coal-powered energy production in favor of natural gas and renewables like wind and solar. But Tuesday, the Supreme Court put the Environmental Protection Agency order designed to combat climate change on hold.

Mose Buchele, a reporter with StateImpact Texas, says the move is unprecedented. The Supreme Court had not, before this week, ever granted a request to stop a regulation before it was reviewed by a federal appeals court.

Under the plan, states were asked to implement their own processes to reduce carbon. Texas was supposed to reduce by about 21 percent by 2030.

Paxton said the plan was an overreach by Obama and the EPA, and that it would raise Texans’ electrical bills and “threaten the reliability of the electrical grid.”

Given this stay, the future of Obama’s plan doesn’t look so great, Buchele says. But the Supreme Court has already found that the EPA can regulate carbon.

“So then the question is ‘What problem do they have with the plan?'” Buchele says.

Learn more about the plan from Buchele’s dispatches on KUT.