Wyoming earlier in February filed three petitions with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, challenging rules instituted by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to combat greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, alleging that the new rules trample on states rights.

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead said his state is trying to guard its right to control air quality permitting. The new EPA rules "strip our authority and primacy," he said. Wyoming is considering other options for actions it might take on this issue, a spokesperson for the governor told NGI on Monday.

"The state of Wyoming had the primary role in regulating air quality permitting, and the EPA used unreasonable deadlines to take that away," the governor said. The state's court filing contends that the EPA rules go too far.

Wyoming's three filings related to EPA rules published Dec. 13, 29 and 30 last year asking the court to review the federal agency's "Action to Ensure Authority to Issue Permits Under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration Program to Sources of GHG Emissions" as applied to the federal implementation plan, failure to submit a state implementation plan revisions, and findings of substantial inadequacy.

As published in the Federal Register last December, the first EPA rule on GHG emissions required Wyoming to establish a plan for permitting new facilities that emit GHG. The state in its filing by the Wyoming attorney general's office contends that it traditionally has had three years to create similar types of programs. "In this case the EPA gave Wyoming nine days," Mead's spokesperson said.

While EPA claims that the state had a full year, that position ignored the fact that EPA would have banned construction of new facilities that emit GHG if the state had taken a year to develop its program, the spokesperson said. Wyoming is challenging this action and companion actions of the EPA in the suits filed this month.

Mead said he intends to "stand up" to federal rules that he considers as "overreaching, and this is another example of federal rulemaking that goes too far." He said the rules will "stifle" Wyoming's economy, taking away its "primacy, so it simply cannot be left unchallenged."

Separately, in another state, Ohio, EPA's new rules have been characterized as being positive for the economy, creating more than 75,000 jobs to help clean up and convert GHG-emitting electric generation plants, according to a report released last Friday by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts.

The added jobs will be created through the investments in pollution controls, new plant construction and retirements of older, less efficient coal-fired power plants, according to the report, "New Jobs-Cleaner Air: Employment Effects under Planned Changes to EPA's Air Pollution Rules," prepared by James Heintz at the research institute in Amherst, MA.

"Based on recent estimates that the power sector will invest in capital improvements over the next five years, total employment created in Ohio by these capital investments is estimated at more than 75,000 jobs, or about 15,000 jobs on average in each of the next five years."

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