States opposing the Environmental Protection Agency's sweeping carbon-emissions rules for power plants say the ink is dry enough on the regulations to begin fighting in court.
Fifteen state attorneys general asked a federal court to put the rules on hold because the clock has begun ticking on their compliance, even though the regulation unveiled in early August has not been formally published in the Federal Register.
A petition filed Thursday led by West Virginia notes that preliminary state deadlines to submit compliance plans loom in September 2016. The lawsuit argues that absent a stay, states will be "irreparably harmed" because they must spend resources and begin reordering their energy sector.
"With this firm deadline, the Rule requires States to spend significant and irrecoverable sovereign resources now to begin preparing their State plans," the AGs write in a petition to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
But the states also want to upend the entire rule, so they are asking the court to put all the measure's deadlines on hold until the court fight over the rule's overall legality is completed.
The rule, a central pillar of President Obama's climate-change agenda, aims to cut emissions from power plants by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, largely through speeding the shift away from coal-fired power with greater use of renewable energy sources and natural gas, and increased conservation.