A divided U.S. Supreme Court blocked President Barack Obama’s sweeping plan to cut emissions from power plants, putting on hold his most ambitious effort to combat climate change.It might not shock you to hear that the court divided on the usual ideological fault line.
The 5-4 order Tuesday halts the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan until at least the final months of Obama’s presidency -- and casts doubt on its ultimate fate before the nation’s highest court by suggesting concern among a majority of the justices.
Utilities, coal miners and more than two dozen states say the agency had overstepped its authority and intruded on states’ rights.The ruling suggests that a majority of the court thinks there's a reasonable chance that the ultimate ruling will be to reverse the new regulations.
The court action blocking implementation until an appeals court can rule “confirms that the legal justification for the Clean Power Plan should be examined by the courts before scarce state and private resources are used to develop state plans," said Melissa McHenry, a spokeswoman for American Electric Power Co., one of the biggest coal users among U.S. utilities.
The delay is a blow to Obama’s environmental agenda, highlighting the prospect that his signature program for combating climate change could be in legal jeopardy. It also risks undermining the U.S. commitment to pare greenhouse gas emissions as part of an international accord reached in Paris last December.
I'm all for getting rid of coal, and replacing it with nuclear power. You might even throw a few wind mills and solar cells. But you have to do it slow an sensibly; there's an enormous base of coal power in the US, and we can't afford to kill it on a whim, to spare the planet an entirely theoretical 0.1 C temperature increase.