It is a long established rule of law that legal challenges to agency actions are “ripe” only when a final agency action has occurred. In this case, EPA released the draft version of the Clean Power Plan in June 2014 and is not expected to release a final version of the rule until August of this year. Thus, the challenge brought by industry and states (including West Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina and Arkansas) was premature.
Though the DC Circuit’s decision (which can be read in full here) is not surprising, it is refreshing to see the rule of law upheld in the face of legal challenges brought by some of the biggest players in the coal industry. A strong, final Clean Power Plan will be crucial in curbing our nation’s contributions to deadly climate pollution and will help our clean industry economy grow – ensuring we, as a country, do not get left behind in the global clean energy revolution.