Insider’s Debate: Will the Clean Power Plan Survive?

In one of its last acts before the death of Justice Scalia earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the implementation of President Obama’s signature initiative to address climate change—the Clean Power Plan, which limits greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. Scalia’s death brought even more uncertainty to a proposal already racked with debate. As lawyers from opposing sides of the case prepare for oral arguments on June 2nd, two of those lawyers took time out to discuss and debate some of the key issues at an event at the University of Chicago.

Thomas Lorenzen, a partner at Crowell and Moring, LLP who represents the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and Sean Donahue (Law ’92), a partner at Donahue and Goldberg, LLP who represents environmental groups such as the Environmental Defense Fund, went head-to-head at the event hosted by EPIC, the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic and the Environmental Law Society on May 5th. Interestingly, they were both once on the side of EPA as former Justice Department attorneys.

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The Clean Power Plan: Its Chances for Survival and Potential Impacts on U.S. Energy Policy

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court issued a stay order on the Obama Administration’s flagship plan to confront climate change: The Clean Power Plan. Just days later, a tidal wave of speculation over the future of the plan intensified with the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia—one of the key justices who issued the stay.

Will the regulation survive? How will this state of limbo impact international climate action as the world questions whether the U.S. will keep its promises made at Paris? And, will the shift toward natural gas and renewables continue even without the rule?

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Areas of Focus: Energy Markets
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Energy Markets
Well-functioning markets are essential for providing access to reliable, affordable energy. EPIC research is uncovering the policies, prices and information needed to help energy markets work efficiently.
Climate Change
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Climate Change
Climate change is an urgent global challenge. EPIC research is helping to assess its impacts, quantify its costs, and identify an efficient set of policies to reduce emissions and adapt...
Climate Law & Policy
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Climate Law & Policy
As countries around the world implement policies to confront climate change, EPIC research is calculating which policies will have the most impact for the least cost.
Renewable Energy
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Renewable Energy
Lower technology costs and supportive public policies are driving an increase in renewable energy in markets around the world. EPIC research is assessing the costs, benefits, and efficiency of policies...
Fossil Fuels
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Fossil Fuels
Under current policies, fossil fuels will play an important role in the energy system for the foreseeable future. EPIC research is exploring the costs and benefits of these fuels as...
Environment
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Environment
Producing and using energy damages people’s health and the environment. EPIC research is quantifying the social costs of energy choices and uncovering policies that help protect health while facilitating growth.
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Well-functioning markets are essential for providing access to reliable, affordable energy. EPIC research is uncovering the policies, prices and information needed to help energy markets work efficiently.