Ohio, 26 other States, NRECA, File Lawsuits Against EPA Over New Power Plant Rules

Ohio and 26 other states sue U.S. EPA over power plant rules

COLUMBUS, OH—Ohio’s Attorney General along with 26 other states, and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association filed lawsuits Thursday, May 9, to block the EPA’s power plant rules released this week regarding greenhouse gas emissions.

“These rules are unlawful, unreasonable, unrealistic, and would have severe negative consequences not only for Ohio but for our entire nation,” said Patrick O’Loughlin, president, and CEO of Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives, the not-for-profit cooperative that owns Buckeye Power’s coal-fired Cardinal Power Plant in Eastern Ohio.

The rules would critically impact the reliability and affordability of electricity for the 1-million member-consumers in 77 of Ohio’s 88 counties that depend on Cardinal Plant for their electricity. 

These rules take direct aim at existing coal plants, like Cardinal Power Plant, and new natural gas plants, by requiring 90% capture of carbon emissions, and the storing of those emissions underground. The process called carbon capture sequestration, or CCS, is undeveloped, unproven, untested technology that does not exist at the scale or that can meet the performance requirements in this rule anywhere in the world. 

“The effect of the rule will be a sharp increase in cost to consumers and a severe reduction in reliability, all at a time when electrification of our economy is accelerating, industrial production is on the rise, and AI is gobbling up more and more electricity with every passing day,” continued O’Loughlin.

O’Loughlin is one of many industry leaders that have testified repeatedly on Capitol Hill on the risk these rules present to the reliability of the electric grid. O’Loughlin and others told the EPA in no uncertain terms that their proposed rule would force the closure of nearly all coal-fired power plants operating in the United States, which currently supply approximately 20% of U.S. electricity, with no good option to replace that always-available power.

“Reliable electricity is the foundation of the American economy. EPA’s rule recklessly undermines that foundation by forcing the premature closure of power plants that are critical to keeping the lights on – especially as America increasingly relies on electricity to power the economy,” said NRECA’s CEO Jim Matheson.

The organization that manages electricity on the grid for Ohio and 13 other states in the region, PJM, has warned the EPA on the impact of these new rules. PJM released a statement May 8 that read, “these baseload units provide a critical reliability role. We are seeing vastly increased demand as a result of new data center load, electrification of vehicles and increased electric heating load. The future demand for electricity cannot be met simply through renewables given their intermittent nature. Yet in the very years when we are projecting significant increases in the demand for electricity, the Final Rule may work to drive premature retirement of coal units that provide essential reliability services.”

The lawsuits filed Thursday with the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, seek a review of the EPA rules, and emergency requests to stop the rules from moving forward are expected to be filed next, and will include declarations of harm for the states impacted. 

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