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In Supreme Court climate case, U.S. utilities support environment agency

In Supreme Court climate case, U.S. utilities support environment agency

Signage can be seen at the headquarters United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Washington, D.C., U.S.A, May 10, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File photo

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WASHINGTON (Reuters), Jan 27th, 2007 – U.S. utility lobby groups asked the Supreme Court for protection of the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gasses. They argued that failure to do so could lead to lawsuits against power providers and consumers, and increase costs.

Next month, the Supreme Court will be hearing a bid from states, including West Virginia’s coal producer, and coal companies to limit federal power in order to regulate carbon emissions from power stations using the Clean Air Act. The case is set to be heard by the court on February 28.

The Edison Electric Institute, National Association of Clean Water Agencies filed a joint brief to support the EPA earlier in the week.

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Alex Bond, deputy chief counsel of EEI, said to Reuters that they are simply stating here… that EPA has regulatory authority to address carbon. “We would prefer to invest the money into new, clean renewable resource, and not in fighting for new clean renewable resource.”

He stated that the lobby group had not taken a position regarding power plant carbon regulations crafted under the Obama-era EPA, or the weaker replacement rule created by the Trump administration.

EEI argued in its brief that if the federal agency loses its authority groups seeking to limit the industry’s climate emissions could launch a flood of public nuisance lawsuits against utilities. These lawsuits were ended by a Supreme Court ruling in 2011, affirming the authority of EPA to regulate greenhouse gases.

Amanda Aspatore is NACWA’s chief legal counsel. She said that her organization was also concerned by lawsuits because wastewater treatment facilities are large power consumers.

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She stated that disruptions and costs resulting in lawsuits will eventually be borne by clean water utilities, as well as local communities who are least able to pay more for clean drinking water.

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Reporting by Valerie Volcovici, Editing by Cynthia Osterman

Our Standards The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles

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