Justices Delay, Michigan Doesn't Have To

On February 9th, the Supreme Court granted an emergency stay of the Clean Power Plan. The Court overruled a unanimous panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which denied motions to stay the Clean Power Plan on January 21st following two months of briefing and weeks of careful review. The Supreme Court's decision means that implementation of the plan will be delayed while the D.C. Circuit court reviews the merits of lawsuits challenging it. 

The decision to grant the stay is not determinative of the future of the Clean Power Plan, and legal experts believe that the CPP will ultimately be upheld on its merits. 

Since the decision, Ecology Center, along with numerous environmental, public health, and environmental justice advocates have called on the Synder administration to continue its implementation planning process, recognizing that delays in implementation do not diminish the State's responsibility to protect public health and combat the effects of climate change. 

Unfortunately, on February 16th, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs sent out an email announcing that Michigan would suspend carbon rule activities pending court resolution, but would complete the modeling project that was already underway. The announcement also stated that Governor Snyder had just signed the multi-state Governors' Accord for a New Energy Future, joining 17 states in a commitment to work together to "promote clean energy, clean transportation, and a modern electrical grid." While we agree that states should collaborate to develop clean energy solutions, the accord as it stands seems pretty toothless. There are no requirements that specific targets be met and no timelines for compliance. 

The Supreme Court stay does not delay the impacts of climate change or the public health impacts of pollution. No matter what the outcome in the courts, Michigan has a responsibility to implement energy policies that transition us away from fossil fuels, invest in the clean energy economy, protect public health and reduce carbon emissions. Ecology Center will continue to advocate that the Snyder administration and the legislature do not delay. That they adopt policies that increase our renewable energy and energy efficiency standards and that they actively and effectively move Michigan toward a clean energy future.