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Monday, February 22, 2016

Ind. Gov't. - "Pence said Indiana won't comply with a federal rule to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, even if legal challenges fail"

Updating a list of earlier ILB posts on this rules, Maureen Groppe of the Star Washington Bureau reported Feb. 20th in a story headed: "Pence to defy coal plant rules: Gov. Mike Pence said Indiana won't comply with a federal rule to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, even if legal challenges fail." Some quotes:

WASHINGTON — Indiana won’t come up with its own plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, even if a federal reduction requirement is upheld in court, Gov. Mike Pence said Saturday.

The federal rule, known as the Clean Power Plan, recently was put on hold by the Supreme Court until legal challenges are finished.

That left states in the position of deciding whether to keep working on how to achieve the reductions if the plan is upheld.

The attorneys general of West Virginia and Texas, who had taken the lead in the multi-state challenge to the rule that Indiana also joined, have told states they should “put their pencils down.”

Pence said he already had decided Indiana would not move forward with its own plan. * * *

If the emissions reduction requirement is upheld, states that don’t submit a plan for achieving the reductions will have one imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. * * *

And an official with the Edison Electric Institute, the largest trade association of electricity providers, told the state legislature last month that the Clean Power Plan is likely to be upheld.

“It appears that EPA has crafted a very legally defensible rule,” the institute’s Karen Obenshain told a Senate panel. “Even though the court’s decision may nibble around the edges of the rule, we think the guts will remain intact at this time, unless the Supreme Court does something dramatic.”

Obenshain’s comments, however, came before the unexpected decision of the Supreme Court to put the rule on hold. But that 5-4 decision was made before the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

States had been working to meet a September deadline for either submitting a compliance plan, or asking for an extension of up to two years. Emissions reductions were to begin in 2022. * * *

The EPA estimates electricity rates in the region that includes Indiana would only be about 1 percent higher in 2030 than they would be without the rule. The EPA also argues the health and other benefits delivered by the reductions outweigh the cost. In addition to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, the proposal has the side effect of reducing other pollutants, such as those that contribute to soot and smog. * * *

Jodi Perras, the Indiana representative for the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign, said Indiana can’t ignore the ongoing shift away from coal, regardless of what happens to the Clean Power Plan.

“We can put our head in the sand and pretend it’s not going to happen,” Perras said. “But I think a wise leader of the state of Indiana would start to work on that transition and not play politics with it.”

The Sierra Club wants Indiana to focus on replacing coal-fired electricity with renewable fuels, including wind and solar, and by increasing energy efficiency. That would create jobs in Indiana as well as provide health and environmental benefits over burning more coal or even natural gas, environmentalists argue.

Indiana, along with Ohio and Pennsylvania, have the highest annual damages from energy production because of the amount of coal-fired power generation there, according to an analysis published last month in the journal Energy Policy. * * *

The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will hear arguments in the case in June and could have a decision by the end of summer. The losing side is expected to appeal to the Supreme Court, which could rule in 2017.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 22, 2016 09:11 AM
Posted to Environment | Indiana Government