US Supreme Court blocks President Obama's carbon emissions plan

US President Barack Obama holding a news conference at the conclusion of his visit to Paris for the World Climate Change Conference, on Dec 1, 2015.
US President Barack Obama holding a news conference at the conclusion of his visit to Paris for the World Climate Change Conference, on Dec 1, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The US Supreme Court on Tuesday (Feb 9) delivered a major blow to President Barack Obama by blocking federal regulations to curb carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, the centrepiece of his administration's strategy to combat climate change.

On a 5-4 vote, the court granted a request made by 27 states and various companies and business groups to block the administration's Clean Power Plan.

The move means the regulations will not be in effect while litigation continues over their legality.

The brief order from the justices said that the regulations would be on hold until the legal challenge is completed. The court's five conservatives all voted to block the rule. The order noted that the four liberals would have denied the application.

A US appeals court in Washington had turned away a similar request on Jan 21.

The states, led by coal producer West Virginia and oil producer Texas, and several major business groups in October launched the legal challenges seeking to block the Obama administration's plan.

More than a dozen other states and the National League of Cities, which represents more than 19,000 US cities, filed court papers backing the Environmental Protection Agency's rule.

The appeals court still must hear oral arguments on June 2 and decide whether the regulations are lawful.