15 states seek to block EPA carbon rule

“This rule is the most far-reaching energy regulation in the nation’s history, and the EPA simply does not have the legal authority to carry it out”, said Morrisey.


With droughts, heat waves, forest fires, devastating storms, rising sea levels and dramatic reductions in Arctic ice becoming common events, calls for action on climate change are intensifying.

Attorneys general for 14 states – Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming – joined West Virginia in filing the emergency petition.

Montana has one of the most strict compliance requirements in the country under the final version of the rule, with the EPA mandating that we reduce our carbon emissions rate from power production 47 percent by 2030.

The agency will fight the states’ lawsuit, said EPA spokeswoman Liz Purchia.

The EPA said Thursday the Clean Power Plan will withstand legal challenges because it is based on a “sound legal and technical foundation”. Natural gas power plants are cheaper to build and operate than coal-fired plants.

“Everything hurts”, said Jeremy Sussman, an analyst at Clarksons Platou Securities New York. It ends up holding states that have been lagging to more stringent targets, and treating those that are ahead of the curve comparatively lightly.

Alex Laskey, the president of Opower (an energy efficiency company) commented on the plan, saying that it will have stark implications for the energy industry and people’s lifestyles.

While the first actual emission cuts don’t hit until 2022, state officials say they need to start planning now.

“We just got handed a whole new set of rules for a game we thought we’d been playing for a year, and we have to look at all of this”, says Bob Funk with the AFL-CIO, pointing out that the Montana-specific reduction figures are being reported as anywhere between 33 and 47 percent of 2005 emission levels. “The Clean Air Act was never intended to be used to create this type of regulatory regime, and it flies in the face of the powers granted to states under the U.S. Constitution”.

Court-mandated changes to the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard (MATS) rule, which requires coal-burning power plants to reduce emissions of toxic pollutants by installing control technologies, are expected by the EPA in 2016. After publication, challengers have 60 days to file petitions seeking judicial review, the EPA said. Critics contend the proposal not only tramples the letter of the law, but also sets a unsafe precedent for executive rule-making, as the agency does not possess the authority to regulate carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act, precisely what these regulations seek to do. Since the Obama administration announced the new final regulation last week, the states yesterday renewed their request. According to the U.S Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), coal now generates 39 percent of the domestic electric supply and employs approximately 80,000 workers.

“He [Barack Obama] would like to bankrupt our country”. Alpha filed for bankruptcy after losing nearly all of its value since 2011. But on the merchant side, the picture is less clear as some names have already diversified their generation and shed coal plants.

The final rule places tougher limits on the very states that have been opposing it most adamantly. But the plant has been plagued with setbacks and shortcomings, and the future of clean coal remains a black box.


The EPA wrote in a filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that it “intends to submit a declaration establishing the agency’s plan to complete the required consideration of costs for the “appropriate and necessary” finding by spring of next year”.

Snake oil in the Clean Power Plan