New Jersey joins 23 states challenging the EPA’s Clean Power Plan

26 Oct 2015


New Jersey, last week, joined 23 other states challenging the EPA's Clean Power Plan, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, saying it was an unlawful extension of the federal agency's authority.

This comes as an about turn from the state's 2007 stance when it ended up on the winning side of a lawsuit that forced the federal Environmental Protection Agency to regulate the greenhouse-gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

New Jersey has now opposed the proposal ever since the EPA released its draft in 2014, calling the plan fundamentally flawed and claiming that it placed an unfair burden on states that had already significantly cut carbon emissions.

Between 2001 and 2012, New Jersey reduced its greenhouse-gas emissions by a third.

''This plan also will burden New Jersey residents with higher electricity costs, and it infringes on the state's own authority to oversee its energy future,'' said New Jersey governor Chris Christie in a statement released Friday announcing the lawsuit.

To environmentalists, the Clean Power Plan, as incorporated in the state's Energy Master Plan, was  heavily reliant on natural gas to meet energy demand in New Jersey.

Meanwhile, states and industry groups dependent on fossil fuel mounted a court challenge on Friday to president Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan.

Opponents of the plan were expected to file a series of lawsuits with the US Court of Appeals as the Environmental Protection Agency published its final version of the new regulations.

Of the 24 states filing challenges, 22 were led by the Republicans, who dismissed the plan as an "unlawful power grab by Washington bureaucrats" that would kill coal-mining jobs and drive up electricity costs.

"The Clean Power Plan is one of the most far-reaching energy regulations in this nation's history," said West Virginia attorney general Patrick Morrisey, among those leading the challenges. "I have a responsibility to protect the lives of millions of working families, the elderly and the poor, from such illegal and unconscionable federal government actions."

According to the Obama administration and environmental groups, the rules were needed to cut carbon emissions while curbing the worst impacts of climate change and sea-level rise.

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