One of the last acts of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia before his death last week was to explain high court’s majority view in granting a stay of the implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, pending the outcome of a challenge now being considered by the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Writing for the 5-4 majority, Scalia concluded that the EPA “strayed well beyond the bounds of reasonable interpretation in concluding that cost is not a factor relevant to the appropriateness of regulating power plants.”
Having filed suit previously to block the EPA's overreaching plan, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and his counterparts in numerous other states then requested a stay on the implementation of that plan pending the court's ruling.
The AGs argued that the plan exceeds the EPA’s authority, double-regulating coal-fired power plants and forcing states to make dramatic changes to their energy portfolios and shift away from coal-fired generation. They said state efforts to prepare for implementation of the rule were already causing harm, much of which – such as costs incurred – would be irreversible, even if the rule were ultimately struck down.
Paxton and his fellow defenders of state prerogatives urged the court to “take quick action and stop the continued implementation of this rule until the court has adequate time to hear our evidence and has an opportunity to decide this case on the merits.”
Following the announcement of the Court's decision, Paxton and West Virginia Patrick Morrisey sent a letter to the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and National Association of Clean Air Agencies “to ensure that States understand that there is no legal obligation to continue to spend taxpayer funds on compliance efforts.”
The two AGs emphasized that “the Power Plan has no legal effect whatsoever during the entire judicial review process.”
This is good news, something we should celebrate with a toast to Antonin Scalia. May he rest in peace.