Supreme Court stays EPA climate regulations Georgia helped litigate

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to temporarily halt its effort to regulate carbon emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants, throwing the fate of President Barack Obama's landmark climate plan into doubt.

The EPA was ordered to halt its implementation of the rule while a lower court considers a challenge to the law from 29 states, including Georgia, as well as industry groups. Any decision is expected to be appealed to the high court and the case could take years to be resolved.

Here's more from the Associated Press:

The court'€™s order said the EPA's €œcarbon pollution emission guidelines for power plants are stayed pending€ a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, which will hear the case this summer.

It is rare for the high court to intervene in a case pending in the lower courts. The brief order suggests that most of the justices have doubts about the legality of the EPA'€™s policy.

Known as the Clean Power Plan, the EPA regulations would set state-by-state targets for reducing greenhouse gases from power plants. The rules would force many states to shut down older coal-fired plants and to produce more electricity using natural gas or solar and wind power.

But lawyers for West Virginia, Texas and 24 states sued, contending EPA does not have the authority under the Clean Air Act to launch a broad attack on greenhouse gases.

Sam Olens, Georgia's attorney general, called the Supreme Court's stay "a victory against an out of control" EPA.

"We will continue to fight this executive overreach which will put Americans out of work and drive up the cost of electricity for consumers," he said in a statement.

Sen. David Perdue cheered the news on Twitter:

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest defended the climate regulations in a statement Tuesday evening:

"The Clean Power Plan is based on a strong legal and technical foundation, gives states the time and flexibility they need to develop tailored, cost-effective plans to reduce their emissions, and will deliver better air quality, improved public health, clean energy investment and jobs across the country, and major progress in our efforts to confront the risks posed by climate change. We remain confident that we will prevail on the merits."

Earnest said some climate-related efforts could still move forward:

"Even while the litigation proceeds, EPA has indicated it will work with states that choose to continue plan development and will prepare the tools those states will need.  At the same time, the Administration will continue to take aggressive steps to make forward progress to reduce carbon emissions."

We will update this post with more Georgia reaction as it's released.