U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit

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U.S. Chamber joins coalition to challenge EPA's “Utility MACT” Rule

August 03, 2012

The U.S. Chamber, as part of a broad coalition of trade groups and associations, urged the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to invalidate the EPA’s “Utility MACT” Rule, which sets new Clean Air Act emission standards for power plants. The rule will require power plants to be shut down, significantly modified, or replaced, and for gas pipeline and electric transmission infrastructure to be built. At a price tag of at least $10 billion, EPA’s Utility MACT rule is one of the most expensive regulations ever for power plants, and has already resulted in the announced shutdown of numerous coal-fired power plants in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, with more sure to come.

According to the coalition amicus brief, the EPA’s flawed methodology for setting “Maximum Achievable Control Technology” (“MACT”) air emissions standards is unrealistic because it cherry-picks emissions data and distorts the analysis of what emissions standards are actually achievable. The brief contends that the EPA’s new standards are so unreasonable, it is unclear whether the technology even exists to meet them. As such, pollution control vendors have been unwilling to offer guarantees to meet EPA’s new source MACT standards, which are necessary for sources to obtain financing for new projects. Moreover, the new standards could completely eliminate entire industries, something Congress never intended.

The regulation at issue in this case is the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants From Coal and Oil-Fired Electric Utility Steam Generating Units and Standards of Performance for Fossil-Fuel-Fired Electric Utility, Industrial-Commercial-Institutional, and Small Industrial-Commercial-Institutional Steam Generating Units, 77 Fed. Reg. 9,304 (Feb. 16, 2012), more commonly referred to as the “Utility MACT Rule.”

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