Gerald Gentleman Station near Sutherland, NPPD's largest power plant.
The U.S. D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down the EPA's controversial Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.
The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule addressed a theoretical emissions compliance issue in Milwaukee, Wisc. It was thought that emissions from Nebraska power plants were traveling to Wisconsin and causing high emissions there.
On Tuesday, the court officially struck down the CSAPR.
Under CSAPR, the EPA proposed to cap Nebraska’s overall emissions in order to reduce potential pollution theoretically caused by emissions traveling upwind to Wisconsin, Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning said.
Bruning convinced the appeals court that there would be irreparable harm to Nebraska energy consumers while the emissions theory is highly suspect.
The CSAPR would have forced Nebraska power producers to retrofit coal plants to control emissions. It was originally set to take effect Jan. 1, but in December Bruning successfully obtained a court order delaying the retrofit.
Projected capital and operating costs to comply would have totaled more than $60 million for the Nebraska Public Power District and the Omaha Public Power District, Bruning said.
He said the cities of Hastings, Fremont and Grand Island would have faced millions in costs.
However, the overall results of the retrofits were unknown, Bruning said.
The decision "is a decisive victory for states and their ability to stand against EPA’s costly rules and regulations that threaten to increase consumer electricity bills and cripple local economies,” Sen. Mike Johanns said. “EPA has a troubling history of overreaching beyond its authority and ignoring state enforcement agencies. I’m pleased the court called EPA out on both counts in this case.”
The rule not only set strict new emission standards, it forced energy providers to implement costly changes in just six months, Johanns said.
Bruning also said it is a victory for states and a setback for the EPA.
“Today’s decision is a victory for states’ rights and a push-back against EPA’s job-killing regulations based on questionable science," Bruning said. "We won’t allow an overreaching federal agency to run roughshod over Nebraska’s energy consumers and providers. Increased operating costs for producers likely would have affected all Nebraska energy consumers, especially those in our agricultural community.”
Bruning's appeal was supported by six states on the petition for review -- Texas, Alabama, South Carolina, Florida, Oklahoma and Virginia. Eight other states filed separate motions, totaling 15 state challenges to the rule’s implementation.
In Nebraska, the cities of Grand Island, Fremont and Hastings provided support for the motion.
Bruning said additional support was provided by NPPD, OPPD, LES and other public power districts.