Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Kentucky, Montana, Wyoming petition EPA to reconsider Clean Power Plan rules

Officials from Kentucky, Montana and Wyoming this week filed separate petitions asking the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider its Clean Power Plan rules. Under the rules Kentucky would need to reduce carbon emission rates by 18.3 percent by 2030, Montana by 21.1 percent and Wyoming by 19 percent, according to an interactive map by Environment & Energy News.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox wrote in his petition that he took exception with EPA changing the proposed rules after the public comment period, Jay Kohn reports for Q2 News in Billings. Fox told Kohn, "It was disingenuous for the EPA to propose one rule then adopt something far different, especially since the final rule is much more burdensome to the people of Montana. The bottom line is that Montana did not have a fair opportunity to evaluate and comment on the provisions of the final rule. In light of our concerns, the EPA should reconsider its action and put the final rule on hold during the reconsideration process."

Wyoming and Kentucky, the No. 1 and No. 3 coal-producing states, have similar complaints. In Kentucky, Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Charles Snavely, a former Arch Coal executive who was just appointed by recently elected Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, said, "EPA changed so much of the Clean Power Plan between its initial proposal and final rules that Kentucky was unable to effectively participate in the federal agency's public comment period," James Bruggers reports for The Courier-Journal in Louisville.

"Specifically, the challenge states, the public was not able to object to provisions included in the final plan that were not part of the initial proposal," Bruggers writes. Snavely wrote: "The EPA should convene a proceeding for reconsideration of the rule ... so that the public has the opportunity to make meaningful comment on these issues."

At the direction of Republican Gov. Matt Mead, Wyoming Attorney General Peter Michael also filed a petition, Kohn reports. Mead told Kohn, "This rulemaking process has been flawed from the very beginning. The final rule is the result of an unfair process, it has both procedural and substantive deficiencies."

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