Normally when I see somebody upset with the EPA, it’s because they’re shoving their regulatory boot down on the throat of somebody else. That’s why it came as something of a surprise to learn that the agency may be facing a lawsuit from a coalition of very blue states. What on Earth, I wondered, might the EPA have done to these guys? Nothing, as it turns out, and that’s why they’re upset. The EPA has, in the opinion of the complainants, dragging its heels on ramming through new energy production standards which will effectively exterminate construction of any new coal powered energy plants, no matter how much progress they make on emissions control.
SAN FRANCISCO, (Reuters) – Ten states have threatened to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which missed an April 13 deadline to finalize rules on new power plant emissions, unless it issues guidelines promptly.
New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued a statement on Wednesday criticizing the agency for failing to complete its New Source Performance Standards to curb greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants despite President Barack Obama’s pledge to combat climate change.
“Today’s notice makes clear that if the EPA does not promptly issue these rules, we will take legal action to hold the agency to its commitment,” he wrote in a letter to the agency.
The attorneys general of nine other states, the District of Columbia and New York City joined Schneiderman in his threat to sue and gave the EPA 60 days to respond.
Thus far the EPA has offered a big, “No Comment” while claiming that they’re still digging through nearly 3 million comments which have been submitted regarding the NSPS regulations. Of course, the boss still can’t be charging forward on this too quickly while being interested in the outcome of the 2014 elections. Shutting down any number of coal plants, in addition to stopping construction of new start-ups, is going to put a lot of people on the unemployment rolls, and that sort of thing has consequences.
But if this does come to a court case, it will be interesting to see it play out. The original date for reaching a decision on NSPS, April 13th, was a “deadline” for sure, but it was a completely internally generated one. If the agency fails to get this type of extensive study finished on their originally estimated timeline, it’s difficult to imagine a court showing much sympathy for a lawsuit trying to force them into motion more quickly. In the end, we’ll probably chalk this one up to more idiocy from the green energy lobby.