Oklahoma Sues to Block EPA Energy Plan as Illegal Power Grab

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Oklahoma sued to block a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plan that state Attorney General Scott Pruitt called an illegal move to close coal-fired plants.

“The Clean Power Plan is an unlawful attempt to expand federal bureaucrats’ authority over states’ energy economies in order to shutter coal-fired power plants and eventually other sources of fossil-fuel generated electricity,” Pruitt, a Republican, said Wednesday in a statement.

The lawsuit comes two days after the U.S. Supreme Court faulted the EPA for failing to consider costs and benefits before deciding to impose limits on emissions from coal-burning generators.

Oklahoma seeks a court order declaring the EPA measure exceeds its powers under the federal Clean Air Act and an injunction blocking the new regulations for coal-fired plants.

Wyn Hornbuckle, a spokesman for the U.S. Justice Department, declined to comment on Pruitt’s allegations or the lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Publicizing the Clean Power Plan last year, the EPA said it was intended as a flexible approach under which states would be treated as full partners with the U.S. in cutting pollution. The agency called it a “consistent national plan based on public input.”

The new rule was delivered to the federal Office of Management and Budget on June 3, with the EPA’s intent to take final action on it next month, according to the Oklahoma complaint.

The plan will require “wholesale restructuring of states’ energy sectors” and is already causing Oklahoma irreparable harm, the state said in its complaint.

The case is State of Oklahoma v. McCarthy, 15-cv-00369, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Oklahoma (Tulsa).