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Texas Sues U.S. to Block EPA Power Plant Emission Rules Covering 27 States

Texas, the second-most populous U.S. state, sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, seeking to block rules aimed at curbing air pollution.

State Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office today filed a petition for review of the regulation at the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington. A request to bar its enforcement will be filed later today, a spokeswoman for the attorney general, Lauren Bean, said today in a telephone interview.

Abbott “is deeply concerned about these new federal regulations’ impact on the State of Texas, its electric grid and the Texans whose access to something as basic as electricity is threatened,” the attorney general said in an e-mailed statement.

The EPA standards, issued in July, say 27 states must reduce power-plant emissions of sulfur dioxide, which can lead to acid rain and soot harmful to humans and ecosystems, and nitrogen oxides, a component of ground-level ozone. The rule applies to emissions that cross state lines.

Coal accounts for 98 percent of sulfur dioxide and 92 percent of nitrogen oxides released into the air by power plants, according to the EPA. Texas consumes more electricity and uses more coal than any other state, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Criticized by Perry

Texas Governor Rick Perry, who is seeking the Republican Party nomination for president in the 2012 election, has criticized the rule as “heavy-handed and misguided.”

The regulation has been challenged in a lawsuit by Luminant Generation Co., an Energy Future Holdings Corp. unit, which claims the measure will cost it $1.5 billion through 2020 and force it to eliminate at least 500 jobs.

Wyn Hornbuckle, a spokesman for the U.S. Justice Department, declined to comment on today’s filing.

The case is State of Texas v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 11-1338, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (Washington).

To contact the reporters on this story: Andrew Harris in Chicago at aharris16@bloomberg.net; Tom Schoenberg in Washington at tschoenberg@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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