Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Kansas leads challenge to new EPA regulation

Kansas has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block a new EPA regulation affecting stationary-source businesses and industries that generate greenhouse gases, Attorney General Derek Schmidt said today.

Litigation challenging the EPA greenhouse gas regulation has been ongoing since 2009. Kansas was unable to join as a plaintiff along with Texas and the 11 other states that have brought the legal challenge because the deadline for doing so passed before Schmidt took office. Four other states also independently challenged the EPA’s regulation.

However, with the Texas-led litigation now having reached the Supreme Court, Schmidt yesterday filed a friend of the court brief on behalf of Kansas and five other states in support of Texas and the other states challenging EPA.

The new Kansas filing brings to 21 the number of states challenging the validity of the EPA regulation.

“The Kansas economy relies heavily on both the production and use of fossil fuels,” Schmidt said. “The effect of these new regulations is disproportionately harmful to Kansans’ pocketbooks. We’re insisting the EPA follow the rules and stay within the limits of its authority granted by Congress.”

On June 26, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld the EPA’s greenhouse gas stationary source regulatory scheme, and later denied a petition for rehearing en banc. On October 15, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court granted six separate petitions for certiorari limited to the question of whether EPA permissibly determined that its regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles also triggered permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act for stationary sources that emit greenhouse gases.

This most recent filing by Kansas is in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, and consolidated cases, which is scheduled for oral argument at the Supreme Court on February 24, 2014. Kansas is a party to two other lawsuits challenging new EPA air regulations.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court heard arguments in the challenge to the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. Kansas also is a plaintiff in a challenge to the new electric utility steam generating units rule for mercury and air toxics that is presently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

“The cost of this cascade of new regulations will fall on every Kansas family who pays a utility bill,” Schmidt said. “If left unchecked, the federal administration’s so-called war on coal will leave casualties throughout the Kansas economy.”