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Wyoming Challenges EPA Clean Power Plan

Wyoming Attorney General Peter Michael last week petitioned the Obama administration to reconsider its Clean Power Plan (CPP) final rule, calling it flawed.

The petition for reconsideration, sent via e-mail to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy, adds another state voice to numerous ones challenging the federal plan for curbing carbon emissions from existing stationary sources, such as generation plants and refineries (see Daily GPIAug. 14).

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead called the CPP "flawed from its beginning," alleging that the final rule results from "an unfair process" with both procedural and substantive deficiencies. Mead said he directed Michael's office "to use every tool in the legal toolbox to stop this arbitrary and extremely harmful rule."

Michael's 16-page petition with numerous attachments contends that EPA’s final rule is "fundamentally different" from the proposed rule in many critical respects. "The changes the EPA inserted could not be reasonably anticipated from the proposed rule, but they significantly and adversely affect the state," he said. For example, a 6% reduction in emissions required of Wyoming under the draft CPP was doubled in the final rule, Michael said.

He told McCarthy that Wyoming and other stakeholders should have a "fair opportunity" to comment on the rule that EPA "actually intends to promulgate. Moreover, many of the conclusions in the final rule are based on incorrect assumptions, faulty methodology and, frankly, bad science."

The Obama administration unveiled the final version of the CPP in early August (see Daily GPI, Aug. 3).

The plan -- which embraces renewables, solar and wind power, but not so much natural gas -- calls for states to reduce emissions by 32% below 2005 levels by 2030. States will be required to submit a final plan to reduce their emissions by September, but may request a two-year extension.

In its petition, Wyoming argued that the final rule violates several federal laws (Administrative Procedures, Clean Air and Endangered Species acts), and thus needs to be reconsidered in a reopened administrative rulemaking process.

Other states have asked for the CPP to be stayed (see Daily GPIAug. 21), and a U.S. House of Representatives committee this month began looking into whether EPA improperly promoted the CPP on Internet-based social media, following a report by the General Accountability Office (see Daily GPIDec. 21).

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