TOPEKA, Kan. (Legal Newsline) - Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt joined a lawsuit on Tuesday against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that seeks to block a settlement agreement that could increase electricity costs for Kansans.
Schmidt joined 11 other state attorneys general in the lawsuit that asks the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to hold certain provisions of the settlement unlawful. The settlement between the EPA, eleven states and multiple private environmental organizations was related to the EPA's ability to regulate emissions from existing power plants.
“This is another example of a so-called ‘sue-and-settle’ arrangement where special interests are represented, federal regulators are represented, but Kansas consumers and citizens have no voice,” Schmidt said. “We’re working to give Kansans a meaningful voice in this process, and because we think the terms of this settlement and the resulting proposed regulations are contrary to federal law we are asking the appeals court to set it aside.”
Schmidt alleges the EPA's efforts to regulate carbon dioxide from existing coal-fired plants under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act would result in substantial new costs on existing Kansas power plants.
“The timeframe contained in the proposed regulations is unrealistic and appears designed to result in the closure of certain electric generating units,” Schmidt said. “It takes years for utilities and energy providers to plan and develop substantial changes to electricity generation portfolios - and additional time to obtain necessary state agency approval of these plans. No legal settlement can change that reality, but this unrealistic settlement can certainly drive up costs for ratepayers.”
Under the terms of the proposed EPA regulations, states would need to submit enforceable state implementation plans by June 2016. The plans would have to demonstrate significant carbon reductions by 2020.