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Wisconsin Attorney General Files Federal Lawsuit against Clean Power Plan

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, along with 23 other states, filed a federal lawsuit against the “Clean Power Plan.”

The plan aims to reduce or eliminate coal-based energy generation by reducing carbon dioxide emissions at existing power plants by an average of 32 percent by 2030.

The section known as 111(b), sets carbon emission limits for newly constructed coal- and natural gas-fired power plants.  The suit asks the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. to strike down the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new source performance standards, which effectively prohibit the construction of new, coal-fired power plants.

“The EPA exceeded its authority in finalizing emissions standards that are unattainable in Wisconsin,” AG Schimel said. “Wisconsin is committed to attacking the EPA’s overregulation of our electric industry on all fronts.  This is one more battle we must fight to protect manufacturing jobs in our state.”

The rule prevents Wisconsin from building a new coal-fired power plant by requiring new plants to use carbon capture and sequestration, a developing technology that has not been “adequately demonstrated” as required by the Clean Air Act.  New coal plants are required to capture a portion of the carbon emissions, and pump the carbon to underground storage facilities. 

Today’s filing follows a related challenge to another section of the “Clean Power Plan” – Section 111(d) which regulates emissions from existing power plants. The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to set limits on new power plants before it sets limits on existing plants.  If the states win their challenge on 111(b), it could prevent the EPA from enforcing regulations for both new and existing plants.

Other states joining Wisconsin in the lawsuit are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming. Other petitioners are the

Arizona Corporation Commission, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

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