The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday granted applications by utilities, coal industry stakeholders, business interests, and 27 states to halt the implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan rule (CPP) while the legitimacy of the CPP is litigated in federal court. The CPP requires dramatic CO2 emission reductions by 2030 and will force coal-fired power plants to be shut down and replaced by natural gas and renewable energy power plants. Basin Electric and other utilities contend the CPP amounts to an unprecedented and unlawful attempt by the EPA to reorganize an entire sector of the economy.

Holland & Hart and its client Basin Electric Power Cooperative (Basin Electric) coordinated the efforts of dozens of utilities and other industry challengers in seeking a stay of the CPP from the Supreme Court pending litigation in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and possible further litigation in the Supreme Court. Holland & Hart’s lead attorney, Christina Gomez, who drafted the utility challengers’ joint stay Petition, observes that “this is rare and extraordinary relief for the Supreme Court to grant, and reflects the dramatic consequences to the nation the rule seeks to impose.”

According to Holland & Hart’s Patrick Day, Basin Electric and others supported the stay request by showing how utilities around the country would suffer irreparable harm if forced to spend billions of dollars to comply with a rule that may be struck down in time by the courts. He noted the stay will likely save thousands of jobs in the energy and utility industries. “The CPP would have forced utilities to begin immediately developing resources and infrastructures that realistically require a 5- to 17-year lead time, or risk missing impending deadlines. The freeze on implementation of the CPP is a tremendous reprieve for an industry plagued by increasingly onerous regulation,” adds Day.