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Republican Attorneys General Challenge EPA's New Emissions Mandate

Republican Attorneys General from 27 U.S. states and various industry trade groups have filed lawsuits against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to block its new rule on carbon emissions, according to Reuters. This rule, established under President Joe Biden's administration, mandates a dramatic reduction in carbon emissions from existing coal-fired and new natural gas power plants. Specifically, the regulation requires these plants to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 90% by 2032. This initiative is central to Biden's climate agenda.

The lawsuits, spearheaded by states such as West Virginia and Indiana and later joined by Ohio and Kansas, were filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The challengers, including electric utility, mining, and coal industry groups, argue that the rule imposes unrealistic demands on the power sector, requiring the installation of billions of dollars’ worth of emissions control technologies or the shutdown of coal-dependent facilities.

Critics, like West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, contend that the EPA's rule is based on emissions reduction technologies—specifically carbon capture and sequestration (CCS)—that have not been widely implemented in real-world scenarios. They argue that these technologies are not yet "adequately demonstrated," as required by the Clean Air Act, which is the statutory basis for the rule. The contention is that the EPA has overstepped its authority by enacting regulations that could drastically alter the nation's energy grid without explicit authorization from Congress.

The legal debate hinges on whether CCS technologies can be considered adequately demonstrated and viable. While the EPA maintains that CCS is a practical and cost-effective solution for reducing plant emissions, only a few coal-fired power plants globally have successfully implemented this technology.

For more information, contact Sean Wallentine.


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