LITTLE ROCK — The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday temporarily stayed the Environmental Protection Agency’s new rule limiting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, a decision that Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge called good news and the Sierra Club called disappointing.

LITTLE ROCK — The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday temporarily stayed the Environmental Protection Agency’s new rule limiting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, a decision that Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge called good news and the Sierra Club called disappointing.


In a 5-4 decision, the nation’s top court put the Clean Power Plan on hold at least until the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issues a ruling in a challenge to the plan by a group of states — including Arkansas — cities, businesses and industry groups.


The D.C. court, which declined to stay the plan last month, is scheduled to hear arguments in the case in June.


The rule requires states to develop plans for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from coal-burning power plants that contribute to climate change, with the ultimate goal of reducing emissions nationwide by 32 percent by 2030. Arkansas, which relies more heavily on coal-fired power plants than most states, would have to prepare a plan to reduce its emissions by 36.5 percent.


"The U.S. Supreme Court has given the people of Arkansas good news tonight," Rutledge said in a statement Tuesday.


"By granting a stay of the Clean Power Plan, the court has prevented an unlawful, out-of-touch plan drafted by bureaucrats in Washington from moving forward until the legal challenges are properly resolved. This helps ensure that Arkansas and other states are not forced to comply with a rule that will likely be found unlawful and will skyrocket energy rates."


Glen Hooks, Arkansas director of the Sierra Club, said, "While we are disappointed that the Supreme Court temporarily stayed the Clean Power Plan, we are confident that this commonsense plan for cleaner air will ultimately be upheld."


Hooks said the environmental group encouraged state leaders to continue working on a plan to comply with the rule.


"The Clean Power Plan is an important step in battling the effects of climate disruption, and can can also dramatically improve the health of Arkansans while boosting our state’s economy. Hard-working Arkansas families deserve a clean energy future and the Sierra Club is committed to helping make that future a reality," he said.