GHG Monitor Vol. 1 No. 236
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December 23, 2016

EPA Opposes NSPS Lawsuit Schedule Delay

By ExchangeMonitor

Donald Trump’s presidency is no reason to delay the court-ordered schedule for a federal lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon emissions standards for new-build coal fired power plants, the EPA said in a Wednesday court filing.

The current schedule in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit sets a Jan. 19 deadline for petitioners to respond to the EPA and its intervenors’ briefs defending the rule, submitted on Dec. 14 and Dec. 21, respectively. Trump, who has pledged to overturn a number of EPA regulations, but has not specifically addressed the agency’s New Source Performance Standards, takes office Jan. 20. The petitioners opposing the rule have asked that the Dec. 19 deadline be pushed to Feb. 24.

“Petitioners’ invocation of the bare inconvenience of filing reply briefs in light of highly speculative assumptions about the possibility of the next presidential administration adopting some new litigation position by February 24 is not ‘extraordinarily compelling.’ Rather, it causes unwarranted delay for which there is no apposite precedent,” according to the EPA motion filing submitted to the court.

Petitioners in the lawsuit, which challenges the merits of the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), argued in a Dec. 16 filing with the court that “the requested extension is necessary to allow the new administration to consider whether it wishes to advise the Court it is reviewing the Final Rule at issue in this case for possible reconsideration, or that the new administration intends to take other action that will significantly affect this litigation.”

The lawsuit, led by North Dakota, challenges the merits of the rule, which essentially mandates the use of partial carbon capture and storage on all new-build coal-fired power plants. The rule requires that individual new-build coal units cap emissions at 1,400 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour using partial carbon capture. According to the suit, CCS is not “is adequately demonstrated and achievable,” as is required by Clean Air Act.

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