Saturday, October 24, 2015

NJ joins 24 states is suing to block EPA's Clean Power Plan

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's administration on Friday joined at least 24 other states in opposition to President Obama's Clean Power Plan, claiming it oversteps federal authority and unfairly punishes New Jersey,
S. P. Sullivan reports for NJ  Advance Media.

Calling the plan "fundamentally flawed," Christie announced the state had filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit challenging the new rules, which aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Christie, who is seeking the 2016 Republican nomination for president, had previously sought an administrative stay from the sweeping new rules issued by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, which have been endorsed by New Jersey environmental groups and the state's largest utility, PSEG.

"This plan will also burden New Jersey residents with higher electricity costs and it infringes on the state's own authority to oversee its energy future," the governor said Friday.

MORE: Christie seeks pass on Obama's Clean Power Plan

The plan requires states to cut carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030, and each state was given a target to cut emissions based on its previous track record.

But Bob Martin, head of the state Department of Environmental Protection, said those rules put an undue burden on states like New Jersey, which "have already significantly reduced carbon emissions."

New Jersey joins other, mostly Republican-led states — including Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming and Wisconsin — in opposition. Murray Energy Corp., the largest privately owned coal company in the U.S., also joined the suit.

The head of the EPA said in a statement Friday the Obama administration has the authority to enforce the new regulations under the Clean Air Act.

"We are confident we will again prevail against these challenges and will be able to work with states to successfully implement these first-ever national standards to limit carbon pollution, the largest source of carbon emissions in the United States," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

The attorneys general for 15 other states, including New York, as well as the District of Columbia have also said they will support the Obama administration's rollout of the plan.

Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club, said Christie's administration was "deliberately leaving out information" in its suit.

"When you look at the states suing for the Clean Power Plan, they are all states that produce oil, coal or natural gas — or they have a Republican governor running for president," Tittel said.

Tittel said the state "could potentially lose billions in federal funds" through its opposition to the new power plan. He accused Christie of "sacrificing New Jersey's interests for his own political campaign.

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