A top appeals court on Tuesday dismissed as premature a lawsuit filed by West Virginia and other states challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed carbon dioxide pollution rules.
In a decision written by a conservative Bush administration nominee, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit essentially told the complaining states to come back later.
“Petitioners are champing at the bit to challenge EPA’s anticipated rule restricting carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants,” Judge Brett Kavanaugh wrote. “But EPA has not yet issued a final rule. It has issued only a proposed rule.”
Kavanaugh added that while “this court has authority to review the legality of final agency rules...we do not have authority to review proposed agency rules.”
On June 18, 2014, as part of the Obama administrations efforts to combat global warming, EPA proposed a rule to restrict carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-fired and natural gas-fired power plants.
West Virginia, allied with states including Kansas, Kentucky and South Carolina, along with the Murray Energy Co., challenged the proposal and sought a court order to stop it from taking effect.
“In effect,” Kavanaugh stated, the states “are asking us to review the legality of a proposed EPA rule so as to prevent EPA from issuing a final rule.” And that, Kavanaugh concluded, the court could not do.