After a recent decision from a panel of judges at the Washington, D.C., Circuit Court to halt implementation of the Clean Power Plan, the court decided that the entire circuit court of 11 judges should hear the challenge to EPA rule, and the American Energy Alliance (AEA) has declared a victory for those opposed to the regulation.
The AEA said the decision will lead to significant delays regardless of the circuit court’s ultimate determination. Oral arguments, originally scheduled to begin this week, were re-scheduled for late September.
This means that, depending on the appeals strategy employed by whichever side loses the circuit court decision, the inevitable Supreme Court review of the case will be delayed even longer. On the previous schedule, the case was likely to undergo Supreme Court review this fall, with oral arguments and a decision expected by next summer. Now the Supreme Court likely will not review the case until spring 2017, with a decision not expected until 2018. States won't need to worry about any compliance measures, as the new rule, should it be upheld, likely would not go into effect until late 2018.
The full panel presents a less-friendly playing field for the EPA. Out of the 11 judges, two liberal judges, including Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, have recused themselves from the case. This leaves five liberal judges and four conservative ones to hear the case.