D.C. Circuit to hear White Stallion, EPA case

A three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is scheduled to hear oral arguments Dec. 10 on a lawsuit brought by the White Stallion Energy Center against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has filed a legal brief supporting the White Stallion suit (D.C. Circuit 12-1100) against EPA’s Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) rule and the “co-benefits” accounting method that EPA’s uses to justify the rule, according to the U.S. Chamber’s legal arm.

The chamber has called co-benefits “a controversial and legally dubious” accounting method that credits ancillary emission reductions that are not the target of the rule itself.

A number of other industry organizations, power business trade groups, environmental groups and other parties have also filed briefs in the proceeding.

In other related litigation, industry groups have argued that EPA’s flawed methodology allows the federal agency to cherry-pick emissions data and distort the analysis of what air standards are actually achievable.

Although the Utility MACT Rule is designed to target mercury as a “Hazardous Air Pollutant” (HAP), more than 99% of the EPA’s alleged benefits from the rule do not come from reducing HAP emissions, but instead from incidental emission reductions from “fine particulate matter” (PM2.5), which is already heavily regulated by the EPA under other regulations, the U.S. Chamber has said.

Issues raised in White Stallion case include EPA’s treatment of petroleum coke facilities under the rule proposal; EPA’s decision to decline to subcategorize circulating fluidized bed (CFB) units; and EPA-compelled coal-to-gas switching at certain electric generating units.

White Stallion was proposing a 1,200-MW solid fuel power plant near Bay City, Texas. The Matagorda County, Texas, project, now stalled, had been opposed by the Sierra Club, Public Citizen and various other environmental groups.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.