by Max Brantley
Arkansas is seeking to intervene in the suit against the EPA because of the significant and costly impact it would have on the Arkansas economy and its utility ratepayers. Rutledge is seeking to intervene in order to join the lawsuit with attorneys general from West Virginia, Alabama, Alaska, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wyoming and Kentucky.
As indicated in the motion, Arkansas is required to meet the sixth most stringent obligation of all the states under the proposed 111(d) rule, yet Arkansas ranks 46th in per capita income. The EPA proposes emissions rate reductions of 41 percent and 44 percent as interim and final requirements. The drastic reductions required under the proposed rule will negatively impact existing industry, future economic development and electric ratepayers in the State of Arkansas.
On June 18, 2014, Ohio-based coal company Murray Energy Corporation filed a petition for an extraordinary writ in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., challenging the EPA's authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-fired power plants under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. Coal-fired power plants already are regulated under a separate section of the Clean Air Act, and the law expressly prohibits the double regulation of such plants. On August 15, 2014, Murray Energy Corporation filed a petition for review in the U.S. Court of Appeals challenging the EPA’s authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-fired power plants under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. In an order on Nov. 13, 2014, these cases were consolidated.
"Suing the EPA might make for good politics, but it's not good for Arkansas.
"The EPA's Clean Power Plan can be a boon for Arkansas's economy if we have the courage to handle it right. Our outdated power system in Arkansas is heavily dependent on burning dirty coal and gas. By transitioning away from dirty fuels, ramping up clean energy, and focusing on energy efficiency, we can create thousands of good-paying jobs right here in Arkansas.
"Attorney General Rutledge has a choice to make: either embrace a future with clean energy jobs for Arkansas, or hold on to the same tired and dirty system that sends $675 million dollars out of Arkansas each year to buy Wyoming coal. Sierra Club urges our elected leaders to envision an Arkansas with cleaner energy, healthier citizens, and a booming economy. We have the opportunity—all we need now is the political will to make the smart decisions."