Chamber of Commerce, et al. v. EPA (ESPS Rule - Application for Stay)

U.S. Supreme Court Grants Stay of EPA’s Unprecedented Attempt to Restructure Nation’s Electricity System

Oral Argument Date:
Vote: N/A
U.S. Chamber's Position: 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, joined by fifteen other trade associations, filed a motion asking the U.S. Supreme Court for an immediate stay of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) carbon regulations for the electricity sector while the regulations are under review by the courts. The Chamber's stay motion follows on the heels of a motion filed January 26, 2016 by a coalition of states and state officials representing 26 states asking the Supreme Court to stay the rule during the period of judicial review. Coalitions representing the utility sector and the coal mining industry also filed supporting motions for stay, as did the state of North Dakota.

In its stay motion, the Chamber argues that the EPA's rule harms local businesses and their communities, and asks the Supreme Court to grant a stay to allow legal review to conclude before the EPA’s unprecedented rule can cause more harm to the business community. Indeed, EPA itself predicts that the rule will force the retirement of many power plants this year alone.

“The impact of this rule on the economy cannot be overstated,” said Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy. “The rule causes many businesses in the electricity sector and beyond to radically restructure or even close their doors, setting off a domino effect in local communities across the country. And while this happens, Americans will see their electricity bills increase as reliable power sources are forced to retire. Given the unprecedented nature of the rule and the gravity of these harms to businesses and consumers alike, a stay from our nation’s highest court is justified.”

The Chamber is joined in its stay motion by the National Association of Manufacturers, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, National Federation of Independent Business, American Chemistry Council, American Coke and Coal Chemicals Institute, American Foundry Society, American Forest and Paper Association, American Iron and Steel Institute, American Wood Council, Brick Industry Association, Electricity Consumers Resource Council, Lignite Energy Council, National Lime Association, National Oilseed Processors Association, and Portland Cement Association.

In this case, the U.S. Chamber and its coalition partners are represented by Peter D. Keisler, Roger R. Martella, Jr., C. Frederick Beckner III, and Ryan C. Morris of Sidley Austin LLP.

Outcome Content: 

The U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) carbon regulations for the electricity sector while the regulations are under review by the courts.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue released the following statement: "We welcome the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to stay the EPA’s unlawful greenhouse gas rule for the power sector. The Supreme Court’s stay of this rule and the D.C. Circuit’s order to hear the case quickly will ensure that America will not be forced to make costly and irreversible implementation decisions based upon an unprecedented regulation until judicial review is complete. The EPA’s rule would put the government in control of our energy choices, drive up electricity costs for American businesses, consumers and families, impose tens of billions of dollars in annual compliance costs, and reduce our nation’s global competitiveness. Staying this rule is the right decision.”

A legal white paper discussing how the stay tolls the deadlines included in the power plant rule is available here. A letter from the Attorneys General of West Virginia and Texas, discussing the legal effect of the stay, is available here.

Procedural History: 
Petitioners' Stay Applications
  • U.S. Chamber, et al. stay application (with exhibits) in support of States' stay application filed 1/27/2016.

Responses in Opposition to Stay Applications

Replies in Support of Stay Applications

SCOTUS order granting stay application issued 2/9/2016.

--- This case is currently in the process of merits briefing before the D.C. Circuit. For information on the pending merits briefing, please visit this page. ---