Climate-Change Plan Faces High-Profile Legal Test

WASHINGTON ( AP) -

The cornerstone of President Barack Obama’s plan to address climate change is still months away from being finished, but it’s already facing a high-stakes legal challenge from critics who want to halt the process in its tracks.

A federal appeals court will hear arguments Thursday in two cases challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to cut greenhouse-gas emissions from the nation’s coal-fired power plants.

The lawsuits from a coalition of 15 states and a coal-mining company are part of a growing political attack from opponents who say the move will kill jobs, cripple demand for coal and drive up electricity prices.

At issue is whether the EPA has authority for its plan under the Clean Air Act. The EPA says it has acted within the law and calls the lawsuits premature.