West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey lead 23 states this week in asking a federal court to strike down the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new source performance standards (NSPS), which effectively prohibits the construction of new, coal-fired power plants.
Tuesday’s petition, filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, DC, argues EPA exceeded its legal authority under Section 111(b) of the Clean Air Act in finalizing emissions standards that will jeopardize West Virginia’s energy needs as well as good-paying coal jobs here and nationwide.
Morrisey said the NSPS rule relies upon experimental technology that is extremely expensive and unproven on a commercial scale in the United States.
“This gamble proves far too costly for West Virginia,” said Attorney General Morrisey in a press release. “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 Attorney General Morrisey led 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 emissions at existing power plants by an average of 32 percent by 2030.
“These unlawful policies cannot go forward,” he said. “Not only will EPA’s rules threaten good-paying jobs and small business throughout West Virginia, this unilateral action is unlawful,” the release stated.
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.