DENVER – Feb. 16, 2016 – A Greenberg Traurig, LLP team led by Paul M. Seby, an Environmental Practice shareholder in the Denver office, was granted a stay of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Clean Power Plan” (the “Plan”), while litigation continues in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The stay will stop the new restrictions from going into place until the litigation plays out through the Supreme Court.
Greenberg Traurig represents the State of North Dakota, along with 28 other states and industry associations suing. All parties involved would be hard-hit by the Plan, including Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and New Mexico. Seby serves as Special Attorney General for the State of North Dakota.
The Plan, the most far-reaching and burdensome rule the EPA has adopted in the history of the agency, was originally proposed on August 3, 2015. The finalized new rules or standards greatly restrict the use of coal-fueled electric generation on a state-by-state basis. It also regulates greenhouse gas emissions nationwide, and imposes some rather onerous requirements on states to develop and implement plans that achieve stiff CO2 reductions. Each state, rather than the federal government, had previously guided these regulations.
“Opponents were able to convince a majority of the Supreme Court justices that they were already being irreparably harmed by the Plan,” said Seby, “the court finds our arguments conclusive that the rule is defective, giving our case substantial likelihood of succeeding.” Seby continued, “Given the impact and political prominence of the Clean Power Plan, the stay the Supreme Court issued Monday is remarkable. Less than two weeks ago, the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied a similar stay request.”
North Dakota is highly vested in the stay, because of its heavy reliance on lignite coal-fueled electric generation, producing 72 percent of the State’s electricity by coal. The Plan would require a massive shift in North Dakota away from coal and in favor of natural gas and renewable sources. On behalf of North Dakota, the Greenberg Traurig team has taken a very active role in challenging the Plan, both in the D.C. Circuit, where briefing on the merits is currently ongoing and at the Supreme Court on the stay application.
Other team members include Government Litigation shareholder Jerry Stouck, who provided exceptional support to Seby and the State of North Dakota, associate Melissa P. Prusock, both in Greenberg Traurig’s Washington D.C. office, associate Laura E. Jones, in Denver, and Tammy Goggans, a paralegal also in Washington D.C.