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EPA Case

KANSAS ATTORNEY GENERAL DEREK SCHMIDT JOINED 21 OTHER STATES IN SUING TO BLOCK NEW ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY REGULATIONS LIKELY TO FURTHER DRIVE UP THE COST OF ELECTRICITY.   ON DECEMBER 21, 2011, EPA RELEASED A FINAL MAXIMUM ACHIEVABLE CONTROL TECHNOLOGY (MACT) RULE FOR ELECTRIC UTILITIES, KNOWN AS THE “MERCURY AND AIR TOXICS STANDARDS” OR “MATS.” THE RULE IMPOSES STRINGENT LIMITS ON THE EMISSION OF HAZARDOUS AIR POLLUTANTS FROM POWER PLANTS THAT WILL REQUIRE THE INSTALLATION OF COSTLY POLLUTION CONTROL EQUIPMENT. THE EMISSION LIMITS IN THE FINAL RULE, ALONG WITH THE SHORT DEADLINES FOR COMPLIANCE, ARE EXPECTED TO PRESENT SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGES FOR OWNERS AND OPERATORS OF EXISTING COAL- AND OIL-FIRED ELECTRIC UTILITY UNITS AND WILL PRESENT A BARRIER TO THE CONSTRUCTION OF NEW COAL-FIRED GENERATORS.  THE STATES’ PETITION FOR REVIEW, FILED IN THE U.S. COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE D.C. CIRCUIT, ARGUES THAT EPA UNLAWFULLY FAILED TO CONSIDER THE IMPACT OF THE RULE ON THE RELIABILITY OF THE ELECTRICITY SUPPLY, FAILED TO ADEQUATELY CONSIDER THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF THE RULE, FAILED TO CONSIDER WHETHER THE REGULATION WAS “APPROPRIATE AND NECESSARY” AS REQUIRED BY THE CLEAN AIR ACT, AND FAILED TO DETERMINE IF THE EMISSION LIMITS OF THE TARGETED POLLUTANTS HAVE EVER BEEN ACHIEVED IN PRACTICE BY A SINGLE SOURCE OF CONTROL.  LAST YEAR, KANSAS JOINED IN A SEPARATE LEGAL CHALLENGE TO THE EPA’S CROSS-STATE AIR POLLUTION RULE. THAT CASE IS ONGOING.