09/27/2017 - Regulatory Rollback

Power Plant Startup, Shutdown, and Malfunction Rule

by Hana Vizcarra, Robin Just

The Environmental & Energy Law Program is tracking the environmental regulatory rollbacks of the Trump administration. Click here for the list of rules we are following. If you’re a reporter and would like to speak with an expert on this rule, please email us.

Why it Matters

Power plants and other industrial sources emit more pollution as they start up, shut down, or when they malfunction than under normal operations. This rule regulates pollution during those events; delaying or rescinding it would have negative effects on air quality and human health.

Current Status

Litigation is suspended indefinitely while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reviews the rule. EPA must file 90-day status reports. Walter Coke v. EPA, No. 15-1166 (D.C. Cir.).


June 12, 2015 EPA publishes its final Startup, Shutdown and Malfunction Rule. States are required to amend their Implementation Plans to incorporate the new requirements by Nov. 22, 2016.

June 12, 2015 Industry sues EPA over this final rule. Walter Coke v. EPA, No. 15-1166

Trump Era

April 18, 2017 EPA asks the court to delay oral arguments, set for May 8, 2017, while the agency reviews the rule.

April 24, 2017 The D.C. Circuit grants EPA’s motion, canceling oral argument and suspending the case indefinitely while EPA reviews the rule. The Court ordered EPA to file 90-day status reports beginning July 24, 2017.

June 21, 2017 The D.C. Circuit dismissed Case Nos. 15-1166 and 15-1216 consolidated remaining cases under Case No. 15-1239.