Michigan AG withdraws state’s challenge of two EPA rules

Michigan AG withdraws state’s challenge of two EPA rules

The state of Michigan is removing itself from two legal battles challenging the right of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate various air pollutants at coal plants.

In a motion to withdraw Friday, the state’s new Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel moved to remove Michigan as a petitioner from a case challenging the agency’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) and limits on mercury, arsenic and lead for coal plants.

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Michigan had previously joined the lawsuits against EPA brought under its former attorney general, Republican Bill Schuette, who ran for governor in 2018 but lost.

Michigan was one of more than 20 states in 2015 that joined coal companies to sue the EPA over the Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration’s regulation to cut greenhouse gas.

The lawsuit, filed in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, accused the agency of overstepping its authority under the Clean Air Act.

“Petitioners will show that the final rule is in excess of the agency’s statutory authority, goes beyond the bounds set by the United States Constitution, and otherwise arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and not in accordance with law,” the lawsuit read.

The state was also a petitioner in a 2016 case filed by Murray Energy challenging the EPA’s supplemental finding that it was “appropriate and necessary to regulate hazardous air pollutants from coal- and oil-fired electric utility steam generating units." The case in question challenged the EPA’s regulation of mercury emissions at coal plants under the agency's Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule.

The Michigan attorney general's office did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.