WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey on Friday said the state recently penned a letter on behalf of 19 states asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw its proposed rules on greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants because the agency failed to meet the specified deadlines set by law.
The letter, which was jointly authored by Morrisey and the attorneys general of Louisiana and Nebraska, says the Clean Air Act requires the EPA to finalize performance standards for new fossil-fueled power plans within one year of the proposed rules publishing.
The rules were published in Jan. 8, 2014, but the EPA failed to finalize the performance standards by Jan. 8, 2015.
“The proposed rule is unlawful and will be devastating to West Virginia and other states that depend upon the extraction and use of fossil fuels for energy,” Morrisey said. “The EPA is trying to enforce new standards when it refuses to abide by timelines mandated by Congress.”
The states argue the EPA’s failure to follow that requirement of the Clean Air Act means the proposed rule has expired and should be withdrawn.
“This proposed rule should be withdrawn immediately,” Morrisey said. “The EPA cannot meet its own deadlines yet wants states and businesses to meet standards which it has not even developed.”
The letter says EPA’s failure to create performance standards has harmed states and new power plants because they were subjected to the requirements of the proposed rule in January 2014, but do not know what the final standards will be. That has left both states and businesses contemplating the construction of new power plants or electric generating units in a state of uncertainty.
The letter was signed by attorneys general representing Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming.