North Dakota will file a lawsuit against the EPA’s Clean Power Plan while simultaneously making preparations to comply with the rules, the state’s attorney general said this week.
North Dakota’s Department of Health will prepare an implementation plan while AG Wayne Stenehjem will battle the CPP in court, he told a conference on Tuesday, as reported by the Bismarck Tribune on Tuesday.
Stenehjem did not elaborate as to what approach the state would take towards complying with the rules.
“It does not make sense for North Dakota to sit back and decide we’re not going to do anything,” Stenehjem said. “We need to be ready and try to comply the best we can while we continue along the litigation path …. If we do nothing, we’ll get a federal plan that will be even worse.”
The EPA will impose its own ‘model rule’ involving mass-based cap-and-trade on states that fail to develop a compliance strategy.
The state has not filed a suit nor joined any of the pending ones, as it is waiting for the finalised regulations to be published in the Federal Register, which is expected in the second half of October.
Under the agency’s final plan published in August, North Dakota must cut emissions from existing power plants by 45% below 2005 levels by 2020 – one of the strictest targets across the US.
The target is 11 percentage points deeper than the one originally appearing in the EPA’s draft rules.
“We didn’t recognize it anymore as compared to the initial rule,” Stenehjem said, adding that the increase could violate Administrative Procedure Act.
Stenehjem also questioned whether the rules should have been imposed at all since coal power plants are already regulated under section 112 of the Clean Air Act, the Bismarck Tribune said.
“I think the rule does face some real legal vulnerability,” he said, adding that the state will file a lawsuit on its own rather than partner up with other states.
North Dakota is also aggravated that some of its renewable energy sources built in 2012, as well as new gas-fired power plants, won’t count towards the CPP targets.
Under the CPP rules, any wind farms installed before 2013 are not eligible, the paper said.
Around three quarters of the state’s energy comes from coal, with 25% coming from renewables, of which 18% is wind.