As many as 25 states will join some of the nation’s most influential business groups in legal action to block President Obama’s climate change regulations when they are formally published Friday, trying to stop his signature environmental policy.
In August, the president announced in a White House ceremony that the Environmental Protection Agency rules had been completed, but they had not yet been published in the government’s Federal Register.Within hours of the rules’ official publication on Friday, a legal battle will begin, pitting the states against the federal government. It is widely expected to end up before the Supreme Court.
“I predict there will be a very long line of people at the federal courthouse tomorrow morning, eagerly waiting to file their suits on this case,” said Jeffrey R. Holmstead, a lawyer for the firm Bracewell & Giuliani who represents several companies that are expected to file such suits.
While the legal brawls could drag on for years, many states and companies, including those that are suing the administration, have also started drafting plans to comply with the rules. That strategy reflects the uncertainty of the ultimate legal outcome — and also means that many states could be well on the way to implementing Mr. Obama’s climate plan by the time the case reaches the Supreme Court.
The E.P.A.’s climate change rules are at the heart of Mr. Obama’s ambitious agenda to counter global warming by cutting emissions of planet-warming carbon pollution. If they withstand the legal challenges, the rules could shutter hundreds of polluting, coal-fired power plants and freeze construction of such plants in the future, while leading to a transformation of the nation’s power sector from reliance on fossil fuels to wind, solar and nuclear power.
Mr. Obama has also used the rules as leverage in his negotiations to reach a global climate change accord in Paris in December. He hopes to broker a deal committing every country to enacting domestic climate change policies.
The official publication of the rules will also spur legislative pushback on Capitol Hill, where Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, will introduce two resolutions to block them. The legislation will be introduced under the rarely used Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to block an executive branch rule within 60 legislative days of its publication.