States & Cities Threaten to Sue EPA Over Power Plant Emissions Rules

6816851232_fe99b183a4Several states and cities banded together, threatening to sue the EPA over failing to meet its mid-April deadline to complete emissions standards for new power plants. The states and cities include New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Oregon, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, and the cities of New York and the District of Columbia. The states and cities sent a notice of intent to sue within 60 days unless the EPA issued final emissions standards for new power plants and issue emissions guidelines for existing power plants.

Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA is required to set industry-specific standards for new sources of pollutants. Called the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), the standards set the level of pollution new facilities may emit and addresses air pollution from existing facilities. Several states, cities and environmental organizations sued the EPA over the agency’s failure to update the pollution standards for fossil fuel power plants and petroleum refineries. In 2010, the EPA issued a plan to establish greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution standards.

The notice of intent letter states that the 10 states and two cities “request that the Environmental Protection Agency remedy its failure under the Clean Air Act to promulgate final standards of performance for greenhouse gas emissions from new electric utility generating units (power plants) and to issue emission guidelines for existing power plants.”

Fossil fuel-fired power plants are the leading sourcing of climate change pollution in the U.S. The electricity sector is responsible for about 40 percent of the nation’s carbon emissions. Without emissions limits, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that GHG emissions from the electricity sector will continue to grow.

“Climate change is a real and increasing threat to our health, safety, and economy. While the Obama Administration has pledged to combat climate change, the Environmental Protection Agency has now missed the deadline for adopting New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) to limit greenhouse gas emissions from new fossil fuel power plants,” said New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Environmental groups also threatened to sue the EPA this week, The Hill reports. The Natural Resources Defense Council is one of those groups threatening to sue the EPA. “This 60-day notice is required under the Clean Air Act before an enforcement lawsuit may be filed, and we hope EPA will use this time to complete its work on these critical standards,” said David Doniger, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Photo: Flickr user, Public Domain Photos

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by

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