Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

North Carolina Uses Unique Tactic against New EPA Power Rule

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

North Carolina Uses Unique Tactic against New EPA Power Rule

Article excerpt

RALEIGH, N.C. * Already among the two-dozen states suing to overturn new power plant emission rules, North Carolina is picking a separate fight with the Environmental Protection Agency by adopting a plan for compliance the agency is likely to reject.

State officials hope that will create a shortcut to a federal appeals court and head off any attempt by the EPA to drag out the court case while its rules get further entrenched.

North Carolina's approach is unique because it splits the difference between the handful of states that have said they won't submit any plan to the EPA and about a dozen that are hedging their bets by developing compliance plans while they try to defeat the federal rules.

For example, West Virginia considered a leader in the lawsuit filed in Washington against the EPA in October announced later that month that it would develop a plan to comply with the EPA.

"While I believe there are significant questions regarding the legality of the Clean Power Plan, these new rules have been put into place by the federal regulatory agency," Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said at the time. "Until a final legal decision has been made, we cannot afford to ignore them."

Other states signed onto the lawsuit appear undecided about how to proceed.

North Carolina quickly developed a proposal that ignores two of the three strategies recommended by the EPA. The plan received initial state approval in November.

"North Carolina is way ahead of the curve in terms of putting pen to paper on a rule," said Clint Woods, executive director of the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies.

John Evans, chief deputy secretary for North Carolina's Department of Environmental Quality, explained the rationale during a November meeting before a state environmental panel. He argued that the main lawsuit by the states could be drawn out by the EPA, making the state plan North Carolina's best hope to fight it in court. …

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