2015 News Releases

AG Schmidt files suit against EPA to block new energy regulations

Release Date: Oct 23, 2015

TOPEKA – (October 23, 2015) – After months of requesting EPA modify or withdraw proposed new energy regulations, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt today filed a lawsuit against the federal Environmental Protection Agency seeking to block the new rules that were formally published today.

A bipartisan group of 24 states asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to strike down the rules as exceeding the authority granted by Congress to the EPA under the Clean Air Act.

“Time and again we’ve asked the EPA to withdraw these regulations and to take seriously their high cost to consumers and ratepayers,” Schmidt said. “The role Congress assigned the EPA was to work with states to protect the environment, not to centrally plan the manner in which the United States generates its electricity. The agency has continuously ignored the concerns Kansans have about these regulations, which Kansas submitted during the rule’s comment period. We believe these rules are unlawful and will only cause harm to Kansas electricity ratepayers.”

The EPA’s final rule would waste some or all of the $3 billion that Kansas utilities have spent on environmental compliance projects for its coal-fired power plants by forcing those plants to reduce production or even retire early in order to meet the EPA’s overly aggressive emissions standards.

The Kansas Corporation Commission estimates that it will cost $500,000 to $1 million just to develop a plan to comply with the new rules.

The regulation, known as the Section 111 (d) Rule, was formally published by the EPA earlier today. A smaller group of state attorneys general filed a legal challenge to the issuance of these regulations earlier this year, but a federal court concluded the challenge was premature because at that time the rule had not been finalized. The attorneys general, along with additional state plaintiffs, re-filed their suit today after the regulation was published and have asked the court to prevent the new regulation from becoming effective while its legality is litigated.

The states challenging the Rule include Kansas, West Virginia, Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, Wyoming, the Arizona Corporation Commission and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. A copy of the states’ petition is available at http://1.usa.gov/1W9vJck, and the motion for stay is available at http://1.usa.gov/1PLQOK6.

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