To Plan or Not To Plan? State Reactions to Stay of Clean Power Plan Vary

Posted by Dylan Reed and Maria Robinson on Feb 18, 2016 10:35:00 AM


Last week, in an unprecedented move, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to stay EPA’s Clean Power Plan. While this is certainly a setback for the CPP at the federal level, it is clear that work will continue at the federal and state levels in a variety of forms. Since the stay, many states have weighed in on the decision: 16 states will continue to plan for compliance with the rule, 12 states have suspended planning efforts, eight states have yet to announce any planning process, and six states are still reviewing their options post-stay. AEE will continue to monitor states’ actions in the aftermath of the ruling. Here is what we know so far.

States’ formal responses to the Clean Power Plan have been varied, per public statements. Below we summarize formal responses to the Clean Power Plan state by state, with links to original government sources and to public statements covered by national and state news reports, including E&E's Power Plan Hub. In some states, no public statements have been made yet, although we are monitoring reactions closely. While these public statements are a useful indicator of the state’s future plans on the CPP, note that some states will continue working on the issues raised in the CPP planning process both formally and informally.

* = state is suing EPA

^ = state is supporting EPA in lawsuit


Planning Status

Response from Officials


Planning has been suspended.

DEQ Response:

“We don’t want to waste efforts. If we’re wrong and the court doesn’t grant a stay, we have enough time between spring and September to do whatever we need to do.”


EPA set no targets for Alaska in its final rule.



Stakeholder meetings are still moving forward.

DEQ Response:

Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality Director Becky Keogh and Arkansas Public Service Commission Chairman Ted Thomas in a joint statement said they were pleased with the decision but would "strive to balance our obligation to be wise stewards of taxpayer money with our obligation to be fully prepared should the Supreme Court ultimately uphold the plan." 

“The stakeholder process will continue to evaluate what steps will be necessary to comply with the plan should it be upheld. Those activities might proceed on a modified timeline once we understand more what that might be.”


Planned stakeholder meetings are still on, but the Administration is reviewing the ruling. In the most recent technical committee meeting (2/10), state regulators indicated that although it would meet less frequently, the technical workgroup would continue its work. It is likely that the general stakeholder meetings will cease.

DEQ Response:

"We've not made any long-term decisions as an organization, but for the short term, there is continued value in proceeding down the path of finishing at least some of the technical work we had started."


The state will continue to plan.

Governor’s Response:

“But make no mistake, this won’t stop California from continuing to do its part under the Clean Power Plan.”


The state will continue to plan.

DEQ Response:

“It is prudent for Colorado to move forward during the litigation to ensure that the state is not left at a disadvantage if the courts uphold all or part of the Clean Power Plan. Because the Supreme Court did not say whether the stay would change the rule’s compliance deadlines, Colorado could lose valuable time if it delays its work on the state plan and the rule is ultimately upheld.”

Governor’s Response:

"While we're still reviewing the implications of the Supreme Court's decision, we remain committed to having the cleanest air in the nation. We'll continue to build upon the great strides we've made as a state — with the Clean Air Clean Jobs Act and our Renewable Energy Standard — to protect our public health and environment.”


The state will continue its planning.

Governor’s Response:

"Connecticut is already a national leader on global warming - and that will not change. We're going to continue to cut carbon in a cost-effective, reliable manner while growing a clean energy economy. Through programs like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, we already have achieved significant reductions in carbon pollution from the electric sector, while growing our economies and maintaining reliable power.   We have an obligation to combat greenhouse gases, and Connecticut is going to continue to do just that."


The state will continue its planning.

Governor’s Response:

“I am disappointed in yesterday’s Supreme Court action on the EPA Clean Power Plan, but optimistic that it will be upheld when the courts review the merits of the case. We remain determined to move forward in responding to the issue of climate change. As a RGGI state, Delaware has led the country in working to curtail greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector, and we will continue to do so regardless of the decision to stay the Clean Power Plan rule. As a coastal state, we are acutely aware of the serious threats of climate change and sea level rise, and the Clean Power Plan represents a sensible and flexible approach for states to make the changes required to protect our economy and quality of life.”


Florida is reviewing the rule and will determine next steps accordingly. While the state was considering opening a stakeholder process which would include public meetings and a comment period, it is unclear whether that process would continue.

Attorney General Response:
“This U.S. Supreme Court order is a huge victory for Florida families, businesses and the rule of law,” Bondi said in a statement released on Wednesday, February 10. “I am pleased the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the states and halted the implementation of these illegal actions.”


Georgia has suspended its planning.

Environmental Protection Division:
“We are pleased that Georgia will not need to begin plan development at this time given the uncertainties surrounding its ultimate legal status,” said Mary Walker, an assistant EPD director.


EPA set no targets for Hawaii in its final rule.



Idaho is reviewing the rule.

DEQ Response:

Idaho will continue to monitor the legal challenge of the CPP and provide updates as applicable.


Illinois has yet to announce a stakeholder process but has announced that it would move forward with its stakeholder meetings.

DEQ Response (via Twitter):

“Illinois is reviewing court decision, but CPP listening sessions will continue.”


Indiana will continue to not plan.

Governor’s Response:

“Hoosiers know that coal means jobs and low-cost energy for our state, and tonight's Supreme Court decision to put President Obama's carbon dioxide regulations on hold is a win for Indiana. The Clean Power Plan exceeds the authority granted to the EPA under the Clean Air Act, and I am pleased that it will not be enforced while the lawsuit filed by Indiana and 28 other states and state agencies moves through the courts. Hoosiers may be assured that our state will continue to use every legal means available to fight President Obama's war on coal.”


Iowa is reviewing the ruling and determining next steps.

DEQ Response:

"This is a very complex rule; it has been since the beginning," said Ben Hammes, a spokesman for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R). "The decision yesterday only makes it more complex."


The Kansas Department of Health & Environment has cancelled listening sessions while the stay is in effect.

KDHE Response:

“The Supreme Court has granted a stay that temporarily halts EPA's efforts to implement the Clean Power Plan. Because of this… [planned] Clean Power Plan Community Listening Sessions will not be held… The stay will remain in effect until legal challenges to the CPP are decided by the federal courts. Provided that the stay is lifted, listening sessions will be offered. KDHE staff will provide notice by e-mail of any scheduled sessions.”


Kentucky has put a pause on listening sessions.

EEC Response:

“Conducting listening sessions at this time is premature because the CPP could change substantially as a result of litigation, or it could be vacated altogether. The CPP’s unprecedented requirements have placed states in an untenable position relative to electricity generation, threatening energy affordability and reliability,” said Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Charles Snavely.


No planning announced to date.

Newly instated Governor Edwards and Secretary Brown have not made any statements thus far.

Attorney General Jeff Landry released a statement that the Supreme Court’s “decision prevents the EPA from forcing compliance on our State before we have the opportunity to challenge this invalid, expansive rule. I will continue to work with my fellow Attorneys General from across the country to ensure Louisiana workers, job creators, and consumers are not burdened by the EPA's overreach."


The state will continue planning via RGGI.

Attorney General Response:

“Although we are disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision to delay implementation of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, we believe the courts will uphold this program after full consideration of the merits of the case. Massachusetts has made important progress on addressing the threat of climate change, and as this case proceeds we will work with our coalition of states and local governments to continue to defend the Clean Power Plan’s reasonable, flexible and cost effective approach to lowering the greenhouse gas emissions of our country’s power plants.”



Maryland will continue planning via RGGI.

Attorney General Response:
"We are confident that once the courts have fully reviewed the merits of the Clean Power Plan, it will be upheld as lawful under the Clean Air Act. Our coalition of states and local governments will continue to vigorously defend the Clean Power Plan - which is critical to ensuring that necessary progress is made in confronting climate change."



The state will continue support for the CPP.

Attorney General Response:
"The states involved [in RGGI] are proud to have reduced CO2 emissions by approximately 40 percent in the last 10 years," she said. "So, we're working our tails off, because it's the right thing to do for our economy and for our people's health."


Michigan has suspended planning.

Gov. Rick Snyder announced that Michigan would suspend its planning while the stay is in effect.


Minnesota has announced that it is still planning — via Twitter.

DEQ's Response:

#CleanPowerPlanMN is moving forward – attend our listening session in @VisitBemidji next week -- We want your input!”


The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has not reacted to the ruling. The DNR had no previously scheduled CPP listening sessions. Updates can be found on DNR’s CPP page.

Attorney General Response:
AG Chris Koster said: “In staying the rule, the Supreme Court ensured the rule’s legality will be tested before Missouri ratepayers could be forced to bear the burden of compliance.”


Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant threatened to not comply with the rule in July, but has not made a statement about the stay decision.

The Department of Environmental Quality still has a Public Forum scheduled for February 23. Updates can be found on DEQ’s Calendar of Events.


The state has suspended its formal CPP planning process but will continue to work on energy planning to deal with the issues raised by the CPP.

Governor's Responses:

Gov. Steve Bullock (D) suspended the stakeholder committee. “What we cannot put on hold, however, is the need to address climate change and embrace Montana’s energy future, and I am committed to ensuring we do so on our own terms,” he said in a statement.


The state has suspended its planning process.

DEQ’s Response:
“In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to block the Obama administration’s federal power plan, the state will continue to clean up its power sector without expending resources to comply with a plan that is likely to be thrown out in court.”

Governor’s Response:

"We are pleased the Supreme Court recognizes that the federal power plan will dramatically increase North Carolina's electricity rates with little, if any, environmental benefit,” Governor Pat McCrory said. "We will continue to fight the Obama administration's illegal attempts to take over North Carolina's power system."


The state has suspended its planning process.

Listening sessions have been suspended, but officials said there is “still some benefit in engaging the public at some point down the road about energy and how we generate it … and having that conversation without that cloud of the Clean Power Plan looking over us.”


The state has suspended its planning process.

DEQ Response:

“NDEQ staff will continue our important work of compliance assistance, working on gaining efficiencies in permitting, and inspections. NDEQ will retain any information gathered through the NDEQ web site portal on this issue for future considerations. NDEQ does not plan to actively respond to inquiry on this rule until the courts make a final determination.”

Governor’s Response:

"The decision by the Supreme Court to halt the implementation of the Clean Power Plan until a legal settlement is reached is important for Nebraska industry and ratepayers to prevent rate increases. I applaud Attorney General Doug Peterson’s continued work to defend Nebraska against EPA overreach,” Ricketts said in a news release.


New Hampshire will continue planning via RGGI.

Governor’s Response:

“New Hampshire has long led efforts to cut carbon emissions and combat climate change so that we can have the cleaner and safer environment that our people need to live healthy, productive lives – and it's crucial that other states follow our lead and take responsibility for the pollution that they cause. Through programs such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, our region is showing that it is possible to protect public health, spur energy innovation, and promote affordable, reliable energy sources for our economy. That's why I have been a strong supporter of the Clean Power Plan, and the Supreme Court's decision to delay this important step forward is very disappointing.”


The state will continue to not plan.



The New Mexico Environment Department has not reacted to the ruling, but had no previously scheduled meetings.

Updates can be found on NMED’s CPP page.


The state has made no public statement on its planning process.

On a conference call for the Governors’ Accord for a New Energy Future on Tuesday, February 16, Governor Brian Sandoval said that Nevada, for the most part, already complies with the CPP. The state is in a good position to comply, and will keep moving forward with their existing foundation already in place.


New York will continue planning via RGGI.

Governor’s Response:

"The Supreme Court’s decision to temporarily halt President Obama’s Clean Power Plan is a disappointing setback in the nation’s efforts to address climate change. The plan should absolutely be upheld on its merits, and New York State remains committed to moving forward with our own actions to protect the environment and the public health. From dedicating $5 billion to advance the clean tech economy, to requiring that 50 percent of electricity in the state come from renewable sources by 2030 and limiting greenhouse gas emissions in line with the global Under 2 MOU, New York is leading by example in addressing one of the most pressing challenges of our time. But this issue requires a global response – and the Clean Power Plan is crucial to ensuring a cleaner, greener, and safer future for all.”


The state is reviewing the rule.

DEQ’s Response:

“By staying U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan, the Supreme Court got it right. The State of Ohio has pointed out the serious legal shortcomings of the federal Clean Power Plan on numerous occasions. We will evaluate the decision and determine how it will impact our plans moving forward.”


The state will not be planning for compliance.

DEQ's Response:

“Since the Supreme Court has stayed implementation, Oklahoma no longer faces a September compliance date and can focus on assisting the attorney general on overturning this rule."


The state will continue to plan.

Governor’s Response:

“Even though the Clean Power Plan is going through a battle in the courts, Oregon has been and continues to be committed to national efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector. Oregon is well-positioned to comply with the EPA targets because there have already been early actions in Oregon through investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy development, and moving away from coal.”


The state is continuing its planning process and still intends to submit a final plan in 2016.

DEQ’s Response:

Secretary Quigley said, “The rule’s in effect, the rule hasn’t gone away. We, at least currently, see a path to submitting on Sept. 6. Obviously, the landscape can change.”

Governor’s Response:

“Pennsylvania will continue planning and engagement with stakeholders on the Clean Power Plan, pending final decision of this issue by the Supreme Court. We will continue to closely monitor the ongoing legal process.”



The state will plan through RGGI.

No comment has been made from Rhode Island yet, but the state has already committed to compliance through participation in RGGI.


The state is likely to continue its planning process.



The state has suspended its planning process.

DEQ’s Response:

Kyrik Rombough, an engineering manager in the air quality program at South Dakota's Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said the state would suspend a series of five public meetings scheduled to begin later this month in Milbank, SD.


The state suspended public listening sessions until a later date.

DEC Response:
“In light of the U.S. Supreme Court decision to stay the rule and in an effort to utilize state resources efficiently, TDEC is postponing these public education and listening sessions until a later date.”


Texas will continue to not plan.

Attorney General’s Response:

Texas AG Ken Paxton announced on a call last week that the state is “not moving forward with anything until this case is resolved.”


The state suspended its planning process.

DEQ’s response:

“As a result, the State is suspending its stakeholder process until the rule has been reviewed by the courts. Accordingly, we are canceling the previously scheduled stakeholder meetings on March 1, April 5, and May 3.”


Virginia will continue its planning process.

Governor’s Response:

“Over the last several months my administration has been working with a diverse group of Virginia stakeholders that includes members of the environmental, business, and energy communities to develop a strong, viable path forward to comply with the Clean Power Plan. As this court case moves forward, we will stay on course and continue to develop the elements for a Virginia plan to reduce carbon emissions and stimulate our clean energy economy.”


EPA set no targets for Vermont in its final rule.

Governor’s Response:

“This is incredibly disappointing news. The forces fighting President Obama’s common sense plan are those with a stake in the dirty energy status quo that is of polluting our air, water, and forests and contributing to global climate change. Their desperate attempt to make a profit at the expense of our health and the future of the planet is standing in the way of serious action to combat climate change and preserve a livable planet for future generations.”


Washington will continue its planning process.

Governor’s Response:

“We cannot afford to wait any longer for federal action to address carbon pollution and transition to clean energy. Here in Washington state we are unfortunately already seeing the harmful impacts of climate change, and we will continue to take steps that reduce carbon and to lead the nation in clean energy. The EPA’s Clean Power Plan remains a crucial tool to ensure that every state must do its part, and to empower them to do so.


Wisconsin will continue to not plan, per Executive Order of the Governor.

Governor’s Responses:

The Supreme Court’s decision was "a win for Wisconsin and the other states joining with us in challenging the overreach of the Obama administration."


West Virginia must continue its feasibility study per its statute but will otherwise suspend planning.

Governor’s Responses:

"Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is pleased that the court will stop implementation of the new rules until legality is determined,” spokesman Chris Stadelman told The Register-Herald. “He looks forward to the day we can put more West Virginia miners back to work.”

“Tomblin’s environmental agency will keep working on a feasibility study of complying with the regulation, as a bill passed last year requires.”


The state will slow but continue its planning process.

Governor’s Response:

"We don't want to just put all our eggs in a single basket, and that is the court system," Mead said. "So I think we will continue -- maybe not at the same pace -- but I think we will continue to have our [Public Service Commission] and [Department of Environmental Quality] and others at the state see what this would mean."

DEQ Response:

“The agency will take advantage of this decision to focus staff resources and time towards the essential duties that protect Wyoming's environment and human health.”

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