Judge rejects Okla. bid to block EPA power plant rule

Source: Jeremy P. Jacobs, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A federal judge Friday dismissed Oklahoma’s most recent challenge to President Obama’s proposed air standards for greenhouse gas emissions.

Judge Claire Eagan for the Northern District of Oklahoma said the state failed to demonstrate that the court has jurisdiction over a rule that has yet to be finalized.

The case was the latest attempt by Oklahoma to challenge the landmark standards, dubbed the Clean Power Plan, before they are finalized this summer.

EPA’s proposal would cut carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. Expected to be finished next month, it will shift the country from coal-based power to energy from renewable sources and natural gas.

More than a dozen states have taken numerous legal actions in an attempt to block EPA from finalizing the rules. In June, however, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected the two main challenges, ruling that more than a dozen states and energy companies could not bring their lawsuits before the rule is finalized (Greenwire, June 9).

Eagan relied on that ruling in dismissing Oklahoma’s latest case, which was filed less than a month ago.

The D.C. Circuit, she wrote, “has already determined that the proposed emission standards do not constitute a final rule that is subject to judicial review.”

Eagan added that under the Clean Air Act, the D.C. Circuit has exclusive jurisdiction over challenges to the greenhouse gas rules.

Oklahoma made largely the same arguments as the D.C. Circuit challenge and attempted to have the proposed rules evaluated by a court outside of D.C. Nebraska filed a similar case last year in challenging proposed greenhouse gas rules for new and modified plants in a federal district court within that state, but the judge also dismissed that effort (Greenwire, Oct. 8, 2014).

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