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From the 2016 News Archive
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Durability of U.S. Climate Pledges and Supreme Courtís Surprise Stay of Clean Power Plan Analyzed

Prof. Robert Percival analyzed the legal durability of pledges made by the U.S. at the recent Paris climate summit in an article published in the New Republic.

In the December piece, Percival argues against the notion that a new administration could quickly repeal the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Power Plan, noting that when the Reagan administration sought to repeal NHTSA’s air bag requirement, the Supreme Court held that it acted arbitrarily and capriciously, saving countless lives.

"Having the Clean Power Plan struck down in court seems unlikely for a number of reasons," argued Percival in the article. "These include the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court repeatedly has upheld EPA’s authority to regulate GHG emissions under the Clean Air Act, beginning in 2007 with its decision in Massachusetts v. EPA."

But in an unprecedented action, the Supreme Court shocked legal observers when it voted 5-4 to block EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) from taking effect on February 9.

The Court’s decision was particularly surprising because the D.C. Circuit, which had expedited its hearing of legal challenges to the CPP, had unanimously denied a stay less than three weeks before.

Percival explored the decision, wondering if it was "Bush v. Gore for the environment,” in a new op-ed in The Conversation

"This is the first time ever that the Supreme Court has intervened to stay, or temporarily block, an agency’s regulation before a court has heard legal challenges to it," noted Percival.


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500 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-1786 PHONE: (410) 706-7214 FAX: (410) 706-4045 / TDD: (410) 706-7714

Admissions: PHONE: (410) 706-3492 FAX: (410) 706-1793

Copyright © 2018, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. All Rights Reserved