Ind. governor will comply if EPA rule survives

Source: Elizabeth Harball and Rod Kuckro, E&E reporters • Posted: Monday, February 29, 2016

The Indiana governor’s office yesterday said the state would prepare a compliance plan if U.S. EPA’s rule limiting power plant carbon emissions is deemed legal.

The comments came on the heels of an Indianapolis Star report saying the state would not develop a plan even if the disputed rule is upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. That is not the case, according to a state official.

“If the courts ultimately uphold the Clean Power Plan, the governor absolutely prefers a state plan,” Dan Schmidt, Indiana policy director for energy and environment, said in an email.

Indiana is part of a multistate lawsuit challenging the Clean Power Plan in court, and Gov. Mike Pence (R) last year penned a letter to the Obama administration saying his state would not comply with the rule, which he called “ill-conceived and poorly constructed.”

But after the rule was finalized, Indiana took steps to prepare a strategy to submit to EPA, including forming an interagency stakeholder group that consisted of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, Indiana Office of Energy Development and state utility consumer counselor (EnergyWire, Jan. 21). Under the Clean Power Plan, if a state did not submit its own plan, it would be subject to a federal plan imposed by EPA.

However, Indiana is now among 18 states that have halted work as a result of the Supreme Court stay of the Clean Power Plan. Its interagency group will no longer meet, Schmidt said, and state agencies also will no longer work on preparing for the climate rule.

“The stay and Justice Scalia’s death have added multiple layers of complexity to an already complex situation,” said Schmidt.

EPA’s final Clean Power Plan would require Indiana to reduce its emissions rate 38.7 percent from 2012 levels by 2030.