AG Schmidt to D.C. Court: Block settlement that would raise Kansans’ electric bills
TOPEKA – (August 5, 2014) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has asked a federal appeals court to block a final settlement agreement between EPA, eleven states, and private environmental organizations that is expected to increase to the cost of electricity for Kansas consumers.
“This is another example of a so-called ‘sue-and-settle’ arrangement where special interests are represented, federal regulators are represented, but Kansas consumers and citizens have no voice,” Schmidt said. “We’re working to give Kansans a meaningful voice in this process, and because we think the terms of this settlement and the resulting proposed regulations are contrary to federal law we are asking the appeals court to set it aside.”
Schmidt and 11 other state attorneys general filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit asking the court to hold unlawful provisions of the settlement that purport to require EPA to proceed with regulating carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-fired power plants under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. Schmidt said a 2011 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court held that EPA lacks authority to regulate existing power plants under Section 111(d) and that doing so as the settlement requires would impose substantial new costs on existing Kansas power plants that would be passed along to Kansas ratepayers.
“The timeframe contained in the proposed regulations is unrealistic and appears designed to result in the closure of certain electric generating units,” Schmidt said. “It takes years for utilities and energy providers to plan and develop substantial changes to electricity generation portfolios – and additional time to obtain necessary state agency approval of these plans. No legal settlement can change that reality, but this unrealistic settlement can certainly drive up costs for ratepayers.”
Under the proposed regulations, states would be required to submit enforceable State Implementation Plans (SIPs) by June 2016, and the SIPs must demonstrate considerable carbon reductions by 2020.
The case is The State of West Virginia, et al. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Case No. 14-1146.