The DC Circuit Court of Appeals has denied a stay in litigation filed by industry groups, companies, state governments, and other groups to challenge the regulations promulgated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from large industrial sources. The stay was sought by many of the plaintiffs arguing that significant economic harm would arise if the rules went into effect.
The court ruled that the plaintiffs seeking the stay had failed to prove that the level of harm would accrue if the rules went into effect that would justify the stay. The court stated that "the stringent standards required for a stay pending court review" had not been met.
This outcome was not surprising to most experts in this field as it is very difficult to obtain a stay of government regulations such as the EPA's GHG regulations. This does not mean to say that the plaintiffs might not win in the final decision on the merits before the DC Court of Appeals. Any decision by the court would like be appealed to the US Supreme Court. The litigation and final decision at the Supreme Court could take several years.
In the meantime, it appears the regulations will go into effect in January, just a few weeks away. The rule known, as the "Tailoring Rule" because it regulates large facilities first and then smaller emitters years from now, would affect power plants, refineries, potentially cement plants, and other larger emitters.
The rules may become a focus of the new Congress as well, and bills may be passed to stop or delay the EPA rules. Such a bill could face a presidential veto. The extent to which these rules will have lasting effect may depend on elections more than the courts in the next few years.