NC Senate Passes Bill That Sets Up Showdown With EPA

Aug 5, 2015

A coal plant outside Asheville.
Credit Zen Sutherland

The North Carolina Senate has passed a bill that would prohibit any state agency from fully complying with the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

The Obama Administration announced the EPA Clean Power Plan earlier this week. It directs each state to develop an individualized plan to cut coal-plant emissions by 32 percent by 2030.

The amended bill (HB 571) would allow the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to develop a very limited plan to improve heat rates on some coal-fired plants. DENR requested the amendment and negotiated the new language, along with other stakeholders, including Duke Energy. Environmental advocacy groups were not consulted.

“Today’s vote is a bad faith circumvention of the historic Clean Power Plan," said Molly Diggins, director of the North Carolina Sierra Club, in a release. "The Senate would require DENR to create a state plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that is  designed to fail in order to set up a legal confrontation with EPA.”

 

The bill also says that DENR “shall bring an action in the appropriate federal court or courts to challenge the EPA Clean Power Plan.”

Governor Pat McCrory vowed to bring a lawsuit against the EPA. Other states have already done so.

The measure now goes to the House. Leaders there have said it is unlikely to concur, sending the bill to a conference committee.