Former state officials back EPA in lawsuit

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A group of 17 former state energy and environmental leaders is asking to support U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan in federal court.

The coalition includes former officials from states ranging from Vermont to Texas who intend to counter “exaggerated claims” made by critics of the regulation, according to court documents.

In asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to let them participate in ongoing litigation, the former officials said they “seek to provide the court with information and insights gained though decades of experience integrating energy planning and pollution abatement while providing a reliable supply of affordable electricity through flexible, proven mechanisms.”

Vermont Law School professor Pat Parenteau is representing the former state leaders, who include Jeanne Fox, former president of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and past EPA Region 2 administrator, and Karl Rábago, former commissioner on the Public Utility Commission of Texas and former deputy assistant secretary at the Energy Department.

Also joining the effort are Sue Tierney, former secretary of environmental affairs in Massachusetts and former DOE assistant secretary for policy, and Jon Wellinghoff, former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and former general counsel at the Nevada Public Utilities Commission.

EPA filed a brief today defending its rule in court. The agency’s state and environmental allies are due to file their brief tomorrow. Oral arguments in the case are slated for early June.

For now, the regulation to limit power plants’ greenhouse gas emissions is on hold after the Supreme Court earlier this year agreed to freeze the new standards while the litigation plays out in the D.C. Circuit.

Click here to read the state officials’ request.