By Don Carrigan, staff writer
WCSH news story
Maine environmental groups say a court case heard in Washington could have a major impact on how Maine is affected by climate change.
Twenty-four states are suing the federal Environmental Protection Agency over new Clean Power Plan rules from that agency. Oral arguments in the case were heard in a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.
The EPA and the Obama Administration issued the rules to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants that burn fossil fuels. The EPA says those power plants, especially coal-burning plants in Midwestern states, are the largest source of carbon going into the atmosphere, which is blamed for causing climate change.
The 24 states opposing the plan say the Obama administration exceeded its authority, and also say the rules would hurt the economy and raise electric rates. But the Natural Resources Council of Maine, and even the LePage administration, say those power plant rules would have little impact on New England states because those states have already reduced emissions through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
“This is how our region has set its own limits on carbon power plant emissions, ” said NRCM Executive Director Lisa Pohlman.
Patrick Woodcock, an energy advisor for Gov. LePage, said he does not expect to see significant electric rate increases in Maine or New England because of those rules.
Maine Attorney General Janet Mills said she had joined other supporters of the Clean Power Rules and filed a legal brief with the court as an intervenor. Mills said she believes the court will uphold the rules, but also said she expects the case will end up at the Supreme Court.
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