Since its August 2015 release, EPA’s Power Plan has been taken very seriously by America’s highest courts – and for good reason. It attempts to bypass our elected legislators through regulatory fiat, effectively robbing states of the right to determine what energy portfolio works best with their natural resources and electric generating capacities.

State attorneys general, industry, small businesses and everyday Americans have since cried foul at EPA’s egregious overreach, leading to mass legal action and a historic stay by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Power Plan’s journey has been nothing short of tumultuous and on September 27 will find its fate in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals’ hands.

The Power Plan’s Precarious Journey to D.C. Circuit Court

Final Plan Released

August 2, 2015
Final Plan Released

Groups around the U.S. slammed EPA for its overreach, while state attorneys general swiftly challenged the rule.

Congressional Oversight Begins

September 11, 2015
Congressional Oversight Begins

Congressional committees begin holding hearings to examine the impact of EPA’s agenda on state electricity systems and families, and questioning EPA officials on whether they’ve considered the devastating effects.

Lawsuits Filed and Stay Requested

October 22, 2015
Lawsuits Filed and Stay Requested

EPA publishes its Power Plan in the Federal Register and lawsuits are quickly filed by the following:

  • 27 states and state agencies representing 67 percent of America’s generating capacity
  • 24 national trade associations representing more than 80 percent of the U.S. economy
  • 37 rural electric cooperatives
  • 10 major companies and three labor unions representing 878,000 members.

The challengers also requested D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals stay the rule to prevent irreparable harm to America’s power fleet.

Stay Denied by Circuit

January 21, 2016
Stay Denied by Circuit

The stay requested by a majority of states and state agencies was denied by D.C. Circuit, but their request for an expedited hearing schedule was granted. Challengers appealed their petition to the Supreme Court.

Stay Granted by SCOTUS

February 9, 2016
Stay Granted by SCOTUS

On February 9, SCOTUS issued a stay on the Power Plan, halting any implementation of the rule until its legality is determined. The move was unprecedented, signaling their concern with the rule’s legality and its potential to irreparably harm states.

Meanwhile, legal opposition to the Power Plan continued to grow, with 205 members of Congress from 41 states filing a “friend of the court” brief urging D.C. Circuit to strike down the plan when oral arguments occur on June 2.

Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt also signed on to a brief against the power plan, bringing state opposition to a total of 28.

Circuit to Hear Case En Banc

May 16, 2016
Circuit to Hear Case En Banc

D.C. Circuit announced the entire court will hear arguments on September 27, as opposed to its usual three-judge panel on June 2. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, a leader of the state challengers, said this move confirmed the “long held view” of the Power Plan’s unprecedented and transformative nature.

Oral Arguments Before Circuit

September 27, 2016
Oral Arguments Before Circuit

D.C. Circuit will hear 218 minutes of oral arguments on the Power Plan. What will they decide and how will it impact America’s future?


On September 27, America will find itself at a crossroads where courts can reject the Power Plan, uphold our Constitution and prioritize states’ and citizens’ rights. Accepting this rule will not only rebuke our principles of cooperative federalism, but will also place an enormous financial burden on the very people our Constitution was designed to protect. Compliance with the rule will cost nearly $300 billion, which will be passed on to consumers through higher electricity costs.

In fact, electricity prices will increase in all of the lower 48 states, with 28 states seeing double-digit increases peaking as high as 62 percent. For the 51 million households surviving on less than $55 a day, higher rates will force them into the tough decision of keeping their lights on or putting food on the table. All of this pain will be felt for virtually no environmental benefit.

The courts have already demonstrated their understanding of this case’s significance. However, it is of the utmost importance they also realize what’s at stake with their decision and ultimately act in the best interest of America’s families, small businesses, communities, states and industry.