The Obama administration's plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants is facing a difficult road toward implementation following the Supreme Court's decision to place the initiative on hold.
Justices of the Supreme Court on Tuesday voted 5-4 along ideological lines in favor of granting a request made by 27 states as well as other groups to prevent the administration's Clean Power Plan from being carried out.
Aside from cutting back on all CO2 emissions in the United States, the initiative also states that fossil fuels should be replaced with renewable sources of energy.
The justices' decision effectively blocks any regulation related to the Clean Power Plan from being implemented until the legality of the move is determined in court.
The Obama administration has expressed its strong disagreement with the Supreme Court's decision. However, it believes that the initiative will be able to survive its legal battle.
"We remain confident that we will prevail on the merits," a representative from the government said.
The administration added that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will continue to coordinate with states that support the Clean Power Plan. The agency will also take "aggressive steps" in order to lessen carbon emissions in the country.
Clean Power Plan
Pres. Barrack Obama's Clean Power Plan is designed to bring down carbon emissions from American power plants to about 32 percent below the 2005 levels by 2030. It provides the United States with the means to achieve the emissions reduction target that it had agreed upon during the Paris climate summit in December 2015.
Despite the Supreme Court's decision, a senior official of the Obama administration said that the U.S. can still meet its environmental goal and lead other nations on climate change through "new and additional steps".
Tuesday's ruling places the fate of the Clean Power Plan in doubt as it raises the likelihood that the Supreme Court, with its conservative sentiments, could take over the case and strike it down once a lower court decides on its legality.
In June 2015, the Supreme Court ruled against the administration's efforts to control the levels of mercury and other harmful chemicals in the air.
Photo: Ian McWilliams | Flickr