Group of 23 states files another suit against EPA; standards on new plants targeted

Another lawsuit has been filed against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by a group of 23 states and the target in the latest case is new source performance standards (NSPS), which the states claim effectively prohibits the construction of new, coal-fired power plants.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) said the petition was filed Nov. 3 with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. The complaint argues EPA exceeded its legal authority under Section 111(b) of the Clean Air Act in finalizing emissions standards that will jeopardize energy needs as well as coal-related employment nationally.

“This gamble proves far too costly for West Virginia,” said Attorney General Morrisey. “EPA cannot rely on experimental and costly technology that threatens hard-working West Virginians whose livelihoods are dependent upon the coal industry.”

The lawsuit also challenges the legal underpinning of EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which West Virginia and many of these same states in challenging in federal court last month. The Clean Power Plan aims to drastically reduce or eliminate coal-based energy generation by reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at existing power plants by an average of 32% by 2030.

“These unlawful policies cannot go forward,”  Morrisey said. “Not only will EPA’s rules threaten good-paying jobs and small business throughout West Virginia, this unilateral action is unlawful.”

Other states joining West Virginia in the lawsuit are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Other petitioners are the Arizona Corporation Commission, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

The state petitioners ask the D.C. Circuit Court to hold unlawful and set aside the rule. The final EPA rule for “Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from New, Modified, and Reconstructed Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units” was published in the Federal Register Oct. 23.

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.