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States: EPA climate regs illegally left out data

Timothy Cama – 08/25/14

The attorneys general from 13 states told the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that its proposed rule in June to reduce carbon pollution from power plants broke the law by omitting supporting information.

Led by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, the officials wrote in a Monday letter that the Clean Air Act requires the EPA to include a wide range of data when it proposes certain regulations. That includes the data upon which the rules are based, as well as the methodology and legal interpretations the EPA used.

“These docketing requirements are nondiscretionary,” wrote the attorneys, who represent major coal states including Wyoming, Indiana and Montana. “Finalizing a rule without providing parties with the technical information necessary for meaningful comment renders the final rule unlawful.”

The attorneys go on to say that the climate rule, which was published in two pieces for different kinds of power plants, “repeatedly violated” the data provisions. The agency excluded information from the EPA’s modeling, heat rate data from coal power plants and any technical information to support its rules for modified power plants.

“This is another blatant example of this agency’s disregard for the rule of law,” Morrisey said in a statement. “It is abundantly clear that EPA and the Obama administration will not allow anything to get in the way of enacting these illegal, burdensome regulations on coal-fired power plants.”

The attorneys general asked that the EPA immediately to withdraw the rule and, if the agency wants to go forward it, propose it again with the correct data.

EPA spokeswoman Liz Purchia said she is confident that the rule is on solid legal ground. She cited the numerous recent federal court decisions that have upheld EPA air regulations.

Most of the attorneys in the Monday letter are also participating in a lawsuit filed earlier this month that says the EPA overstepped its authority in writing the climate rule.

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