Chamber of Commerce, others join legal battle against EPA CO2 plan

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said in an Oct. 23 conference call that they plan an aggressive legal fight against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Power Plan.

Days earlier the EPA published in the Federal Register the official version of the rule designed to have states draft plans to decrease electricity sector carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions 32% by 2030.

On Oct.26, the groups mentioned above, together with other various trade groups, filed a motion in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit asking the D.C. Circuit to stay the carbon rule.

This is in addition to a similar motion filed against the Clean Power Plan in the same court by about two dozen states.

“They have relied upon 300 words in the Clean Air Act” to “micro-manage” the electricity choices of all states, said Karen Harbert, the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy.

It’s an unprecedented takeover of the electricity sector, Harbert said.

The Chamber of Commerce has decided to challenge the CO2 rule “not only because we have mining members and we have utility members,” Harbert said. Every company that uses electricity will be hurt by this rule, she added.

The EPA rule represents “a seismic change for the power industry and our national economy,” said NAM Senior Vice President and General Counsel Linda Kelly.

NAM filed lots of comments on and they “were largely ignored,” by EPA, Kelly said. At same time, manufacturers are committed to lowering greenhouse gas emissions, said the NAM official.

Small businesses will be paying higher electric bills and their customers will have less money to spend, said National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Legal Center Director Karen Harned.

Among other things, the Clean Power Plan prods states to take part in CO2 trading markets. That’s something “Congress has already expressly rejected,” Harned said.

She was alluding to the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, which is also known as the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill. It passed the U.S. House of Representatives in June 2009 by a narrow vote. It never, however, passed the Senate. Subsequently Democrats would lose their majority in both chambers of Congress.

EPA in its own words “strongly encouraged” regional trading and acknowledged that without trading that it will be very difficult to comply with the standard, said Harbert, the Chamber official.

The groups also say EPA is exceeding its mandate as an environmental regulator in an attempt to regulate the energy industry.

The industry groups have retained the Sidley Austin Law Firm.

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