TOPEKA – (August 12, 2015) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt yesterday joined 15 other attorneys general and a state agency in a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency for invalidating the individual air quality protection plans in those states.
In June, the EPA issued a final rule requiring 36 states, including Kansas, to revise their individual State Implementation Plans (SIPs) governing carbon emissions during power plant startup, shutdown or malfunction.
“The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set air quality standards for pollutants but also assigns responsibility and authority to the states to develop plans for meeting those standards,” Schmidt said. “Now, after 40 years of successful state enforcement of emissions limits, the EPA arbitrarily ignores the federal-state partnership Congress wrote into the law and, instead, demands that states not only meet EPA’s new requirements but do so EPA’s way.”
The specific regulation at issue in this case governs emissions when power plants are going through startup, shutdown or malfunction. For decades, states have ensured compliance with the federal standards, but EPA’s new final rule attempts to impose changes on state compliance processes. The EPA’s final rule requiring the states to change their previously approved SIPs came after the agency agreed to settle a petition for rulemaking filed by the Sierra Club.
“Once again, the interests of states and the role of the people’s elected representatives in Congress have been ignored as EPA has taken another action complicit with the demands of a special interest group,” Schmidt said. “These wink-and-nod tactics are an end run around the democratic process. If the EPA’s action is not set aside, Kansans will again be forced to pay the cost of another unneeded rule.”
The bipartisan group of states filing the petition for review are Kansas, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia along with the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The case is State of Florida, et al. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency and Gina McCarthy, Administrator, in the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Case No. 15-1267.
A copy of the Petition for Review may be found here http://1.usa.gov/1PjaBOT .
Separately, Schmidt said his office continues to review a broad, new greenhouse gas regulation announced last week by the EPA. He and other state attorneys general have asked EPA to delay that new regulation pending a legal review, but EPA has not committed to do so.