The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday night blocked the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan for the duration of legal challenges against it, placing President Obama’s foremost effort to combat climate change in serious jeopardy.
The Court’s order in West Virginia v. EPA, which is currently being heard in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, comes weeks after 29 states asked the justices to issue a stay. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected their request for a stay in January.
The Court also granted stays in four other cases challenging the Clean Power Plan. All four justices from the Supreme Court’s liberal wing—Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan—dissented from each of the stays without comment.
The Clean Power Plan is the centerpiece of the Obama administration’s regulatory fight to limit carbon emissions causing anthropogenic climate change. Obama announced the plan last summer. By November, 29 states joined a lawsuit against the federal government to prevent the rules from taking effect.
If adopted, the plan would push state utilities to retire old coal-burning electricity plants and, in many cases, launch their own carbon markets, similar to those run in Europe and China.