A federal appeals court rejected requests to delay the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan until lawsuits filed against the greenhouse gas limits on power plants are resolved.
The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected requests to delay the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. (Photo By: Tish Wells/MCT/Newscom)
The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected requests to delay the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. (Photo By: Tish Wells/MCT/ Newscom)
The Jan. 21 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit allows the EPA rule to go forward. The court also ordered that litigation against the rule be expedited.
NRECA and 38 electric cooperatives, in addition to 27 states, are challenging the Clean Power Plan that requires states to slash carbon dioxide emissions from power plants beginning in 2022.
“The court’s decision not to stay this highly controversial rule is disappointing. This rule conflicts with our electric cooperatives’ mission to provide their members with reliable, safe and affordable power,” said Kirk Johnson, NRECA senior vice president for government relations.
“The judges’ call to advance the case in a timely fashion appears to indicate its seriousness to all concerned. We are ready to make our case,” he said.
NRECA and co-ops filing suit contend that EPA has exceeded its authority and failed to consider the cost burdens and lack of viable technology to meet the Clean Power Plan.
“We have a responsibility to represent the best interest of our member-owners, and we are concerned about the impact of this rule,” said Tom VanParis, CEO of Indiana Electric Cooperatives.
Co-ops also filed their concerns with EPA about how the agency would enforce the rule if states fail to develop their own implementation plans. Tampa, Fla.-based Seminole Electric Cooperative described the financial hardship the rule would inflict.
The Seminole Generating Station is equipped with state-of-the-art environmental control technology, but EPA’s rule could force it to close prematurely, said Lisa Johnson, Seminole CEO. The coal-based power plant is financed through 2042 and rated to operate through 2045. It employs 300.
“This plant, one of the cleanest coal-fired facilities in the world, does not meet the emissions rate requirements of the Clean Power Plan,” she said. “The poorest county in Florida would lose its largest property taxpayer, and one of its largest employers. The rural members and communities that we serve should not be forced to bear the brunt of the costs of this plan.”