Florida Leads Multistate Suit to Block EPA Air Quality Rules

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Florida sued to block a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule that would require 35 states to take additional steps to cut carbon emissions from power plants.

The lawsuit, filed in a federal appeals court in Washington and joined by 16 other states, presages another state battle against the Obama administration over its Clean Power initiative announced Aug. 3.

The filing follows comments made by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey last week that his state will lead 15 others in combating the Clean Power plan championed by President Barack Obama to stem climate change by reducing carbon emissions 32 percent by 2030.

Under those rules, states are required to submit plans for how their power utilities will cut their reliance on coal. Those state programs also require approval from the EPA.

The federal Clean Air Act allots to the states responsibility for meeting EPA-established air quality standards. The lawsuit filed by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi attacks stricter regulations for carbon dioxide emissions during power plant start-ups, shut-downs and malfunctions.

“We will not step aside while the EPA, through heavy-handed federal overreach, threatens to upend a system that the EPA has approved multiple times and has provided a consistent, reliable framework” Bondi said Tuesday in a statement.

Among the states challenging the rule are Arizona, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio and West Virginia.

Wyn Hornbuckle, a U.S. Justice Department spokesman, declined to comment on the states’ petition.

The case is State of Florida v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 15-1267, U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia (Washington).

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