Michigan governor won't participate in air pollution case

Michigan governor won't participate in air pollution case
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Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) is seeking to distance himself from the state attorney general’s lawsuit challenging an Obama administration air pollution rule.

Ari Adler, a spokesman for Snyder, said the governor and his administration are not involved in the challenge filed Friday by Attorney General Bill Schuette, and Snyder’s lawyers notified Schuette he is “disassociating” himself from the case.

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Schuette, also a Republican, sued the Environmental Protection Agency Friday in federal court to try and overturn the latest piece of its mercury and air toxics standards for power plants.

Schuette has tried numerous times to get the Supreme Court to overturn the rule, and although the high court said last year it was not written lawfully, it has refused to overturn the regulation.

Now Schuette is challenging the EPA’s addendum to the regulation from April. That addendum used an existing cost-benefit analysis to conclude that writing the rule is “appropriate,” something the EPA did not do the first time, causing the Supreme Court’s initial decision against the rule.

Snyder’s decision does not mean that he supports the rule, although state law in Michigan requires power plants to comply with it, even if it is overturned.

But it does mean that Schuette is only representing the “people” of Michigan in the lawsuit, not the “state” of Michigan, which would require the support of Snyder’s administration.

Michigan, like most states, elects its governor and attorney general separately, and they can act independently of one another.

Alabama, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming are joining Schuette in his lawsuit.