Supporters of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan are pointing to political motives behind the Supreme Court’s decision to block the rule. After the justices yesterday decided 5-4 to block U.S. EPA’s top effort to limit power plants’ greenhouse gas emissions, several disappointed agency supporters today compared the court’s move to its decision in the Bush v. Gore case. That divided opinion in late 2000 paved the way for George W. Bush to become president.
The Supreme Court’s surprise decision Tuesday to halt the carrying out of President Obama’s climate change regulation could weaken or even imperil the international global warming accord reached with great ceremony in Paris less than two months ago, climate diplomats say. The Paris Agreement, the first accord to commit every country to combat climate change, had as a cornerstone Mr. Obama’s assurance that the United States would enact strong, legally sound policies to significantly cut carbon emissions. The United States is the largest historical greenhouse gas polluter, although its annual emissions have been overtaken by China’s.
Senators are huddling with their respective caucuses this to try to sort out a path for salvaging the chamber’s bipartisan energy package, after overnight negotiations on aid for Flint, Mich., appear to have failed to clear the chief hurdle to finishing the bill. Aides from both parties said this morning it was unclear what’s next for the Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s package (S. 2012), which remains stalled over Democratic demands for assistance to help Flint residents cope with their lead-contaminated drinking water.
Renewable energy advocates say long-distance transmission will tap the wind and solar potential of the Great Plains and Sun Belt the way pipelines opened up once-inaccessible oil fields in Alaska and Siberia. These projects are seen as essential to helping states comply with President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which requires them to reduce emissions from power plants, and will help the U.S. meet its goals of getting 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. “It doesn’t take a genius to say that the challenge is on the transmission side,” said Michael Skelly, president of Houston-based Clean Line. “That would enable a lot of renewable energy projects.”
The administration of President Barack Obama is vowing to press ahead with efforts to curtail greenhouse gas emissions after a divided Supreme Court put his signature plan to address climate change on hold until after legal challenges are resolved. Tuesday’s surprising move by the court is a blow to Obama and a victory for the coalition of 27 mostly Republican-led states and industry opponents, who call the regulations “an unprecedented power grab.”
Today’s decision marks a big victory for critics of President Obama’s signature climate change rule. By granting the unusual request — which the administration called “extraordinary and unprecedented” — the high court has signaled that the regulation may not withstand its scrutiny.
The 5-to-4 vote, with the court’s four liberal members dissenting, was unprecedented — the Supreme Court had never before granted a request to halt a regulation before review by a federal appeals court.
It’s unclear now whether the rule — which the Obama administration leaned heavily on in recent international climate negotiations in Paris — will ever be revived. The high court blocked it at least until a federal appeals court weighs its legality and potentially until the Supreme Court decides whether to uphold the rule, which could conceivably take years.
Senators from both parties are scrambling to save the bipartisan energy package from collapsing under the political weight of the Flint, Mich., drinking water crisis. With the Senate scheduled to move on to other business tomorrow morning, key senators huddled on the floor last night to talk strategy for providing federal assistance for Flint — a key demand of Democrats, who filibustered a pair of procedural motions for the underlying energy bill (S. 2012) last week to maintain leverage on the issue.
The European Union installed record wind-power capacity in 2015 as the technology leapfrogged hydropower to become the third-biggest source of electricity in the 28-nation bloc. Germany’s market led the growth, installing 47 percent of the 12.8-gigawatts of new wind power capacity across the region, the European Wind Energy Association said Tuesday in an e-mailed report. Record offshore installations canceled out a dip in new onshore machines. That pushed the total for 2015 above the 12.1 gigawatts registered in 2014.