The Clean Power Plan is expected to contribute substantially to US greenhouse gas emissions reductions, but the Supreme Court has halted its implementation. However, the conditions supporting a stay based on economic harms to the coal sector are not met.
- Because of market, technological, and policy trends that are independent of the Clean Power Plan, combined with compliance flexibility, the economic conditions supporting a stay based on economic harms to the coal sector are not met.
- The same factors mitigate concerns about large increases in electricity prices and harms to the broader economy until at least the mid-2020s.
- The gradual phasing of the emissions reductions and the flexibility to reduce emissions by a wide range of approaches are well within the confines of the Clean Air Act.
- Existing trends suggest that the costs to the public of pushing back the Clean Power Plan deadlines likely far outweigh the benefits to the coal sector.
- Claims of irreparable harm arise frequently in environmental litigation. Our economic framework for analyzing the potential irreparable harm under the Clean Power Plan is applicable in other contexts.