Missouri’s Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency, saying its issuance of state-by-state limits on carbon emissions overstep its authority. Missouri and 25 other states are asking a federal court to issue a stay blocking implementation of the regulations until the court decides whether the limits are legal.
Attorney General Chris Koster says he’ll lay out his arguments in the coming weeks, but says the best argument is that EPA has exceeded the authority given to it by Congress under the Clean Air Act.
“The EPA is allowed to try to use best practices to make individual power plants more effective,” said Koster, “But then when they try to tell a state that not only does a particular coal plant need to run at a greater efficiency rate, but that Missouri has to spend so much of its resources moving over to wind and so much to water electric production, that the Clean Air Act does not give the EPA the right to determine the mix of technologies that a state can use. The EPA can only determine the efficiency of a single power plant.”
Koster says the limit on Missouri emissions proposed in a draft rule was less strict than what became the final rule.
“They had asked us to reduce the carbon footprint by 21-percent, and the energy producers by and large were okay with that. Not thrilled, but okay and I think willing to go along, and that is my opinion,” said Koster. “When the final rule came, the reduction that was demanded upon the state was not 21-percent of a carbon footprint reduction but 37-percent, and I think that really shocked the energy production resources in the state.
Koster said he supports Missouri’s ongoing efforts to produce energy more cleanly and efficiently, but said EPA’s plan sets a compliance schedule that is “economically risky.”
“It has the effect, I think, of putting a real price increase shock through Missouri’s system over the next decade,” said Koster. “Keeping energy prices low is really one of the primary competitive advantages that the state of Missouri has relative to other states, and protecting that is, I think, critical to economic longevity, economic production in our state going forward.”
Koster said compliance with EPA’s deadlines would cost Missouri more than $6-billion. “Renewable energy is a vital piece of our state’s energy portfolio,” Koster said. “It is essential that we achieve this goal in an economically responsible way that makes sense for Missouri.”
In addition to Missouri, the other states filing the lawsuit are: West Virginia, Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, the Arizona Corporation Commission, and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.
The suit was filed in the United States Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit.