States defend EPA’s ‘reasonable’ power plant rule

States defend EPA’s ‘reasonable’ power plant rule
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State attorneys general supporting a major Obama administration climate rule told a federal court Tuesday that regulators have exercised their “reasonable and legitimate” authority to limit carbon emissions from power plants.  

The filing — from 18 states and the District of Columbia — comes as defenders of the Clean Power Plan provide statements to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals promoting the plan’s legality. The attorneys general on the brief have long backed the power plan, which looks to slash greenhouse gas emissions from power plants around the country. 

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The filing comes after the Department of Justice on Monday defended the rule as an “eminently reasonable exercise of [the Environmental Protection Agency's] recognized statutory authority” that will “achieve cost-effective [carbon dioxide] reductions from an industry that has already demonstrated its ability to comply with robust pollution-control standards through the same measures and flexible approaches.”

The states made a similar argument.

“Both the purpose and effect of the rule are to curtail these emissions and thus address the severe and ongoing harms to individuals and the economy caused by this pollution,” they wrote. “The rule properly incorporates and relies on existing trends and industry strategies to bring about these needed reductions.”

Opponents of the Clean Power Plan — a collection of states and industry groups — have said the rule is a “breathtaking expansion” of the federal government’s power to regulate the energy industry. 

The filings come ahead of summer appeals court arguments over the legality of the rule. The regulation is currently on hold because the Supreme Court halted it last month while litigation against it proceeds.