Friday, October 14, 2016

First shots fired over EPA's new plant rule

The states and companies challenging EPA’s 111(b) regulation opened fire last night on the rule, which sets carbon dioxide limits for new coal and gas power plants. The new plant rule was finalized in August 2015 at the same time as the Clean Power Plan, the companion rule covering existing plants. But the CPP legal challenge was put on a fast track (high-profile oral arguments were held last month) while this case is taking a more typical route through the courts. The Clean Air Act’s wording means that if the 111(b) rule is struck down, the Clean Power Plan is out as well. Two dozen state challengers charged EPA with having an “agenda to eliminate coal-fired power plants ... by virtue of an impossibly high technology standard.” The limit for new coal plants requires using technologies that are not all used together at any commercial plant in the world, they argue. “Much like the griffin, which combines parts of the bodies of different animals into one mythical creature, EPA’s BSER does not exist in the integrated form mandated by the agency anywhere in the world, and the closest analogues are either small-scale plants or plants that receive significant government funding.” In their own brief, the non-state challengers — including coal producer Murray Energy, a swath of utility and co-op groups and the United Mine Workers of America — reiterate those arguments...more

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