Freeman and Lazarus in The Guardian: the legal and political challenges ahead

In an article published on August 5, Professors Jody Freeman and Richard Lazarus argue that while the Clean Power Plan faces legal challenges, the political risks to the rule may be far greater. EPA’s rule, issued on August 3, sets the first-ever limits on carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants under the Clean Air Act.

Freeman and Lazarus argue that the Obama Administration is likely to successfully defend the rule in court, contending that “[t]he administration’s legal arguments are strong enough to prevail, but the process will be long and costly.” The political challenges may be more significant. “Regulations are not statutes and a future president would have authority to rescind the plan,” Freeman and Lazarus argue. “Even without formally withdrawing it, a new EPA Administrator could push deadlines back, and otherwise dilly-dally, effectively blocking the rule in its tracks.”

Freeman and Lazarus look to the coming presidential election, concluding that “[t]here is of course only one complete response to such political risks: influencing the outcome of the next presidential election.”

The full article, entitled “The biggest risk to Obama’s climate plan may be politics, not the courts,” is available at

Photo courtesy of haglundc via flickr.

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