Arlington, VA.; August 21, 2012 — Electric cooperatives today welcomed a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals overturning the Environmental Protection Agency's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CASPR) that would have required electric utilities including cooperatives located in the East, South and Midwest to make significant additional reductions in emissions within short timeframes.
NRECA petitioned EPA to reconsider the rule and petitioned the court to review the legality of the rule. In petitions to the court, cooperatives and many others declared they could not support a rule that is arbitrary and unfair; the court agreed and ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) back to the drawing board.
NRECA CEO Glenn English made the following statement about today's ruling:
Cooperatives support common-sense, balanced environmental policies that protect health and the environment and maintain affordable and reliable electric service. The CSAPR issued by the Environmental Protection Agency was neither balanced nor equitable.
According to the ruling issued today, as drafted by the EPA, the Cross-State Air Pollution rule was unworkable, unfair – and unlawful. The D.C. Court of Appeals has rightly ordered EPA back to the drawing board. The Court agreed with cooperatives that EPA exceeded its authority when it required certain states (and the utilities in those states) to make more emissions reductions than the law even allows. The Court also determined that EPA violated its authority – and its own traditional approach -- by developing an immediate implementation plan rather than giving states time to develop their own plans.
While electric co-ops welcome this ruling today, the time it takes EPA to redraft CSAPR will compound business uncertainty and underscores the need for coherent federal environmental policy. The Court ordered EPA to continue implementation of the Clean Air Interstate Rule, the predecessor to CSAPR, until it develops a replacement for the CSAPR.
Cooperatives have reduced SO2 and NOx emissions by about two-thirds since the Clean Air Act (CAA) was amended in 1990; we anticipate an additional fifty percent reduction to remaining emissions over the next five years.
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation's more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.