Austin, Texas July 19, 2016
In a victory for the State of Texas, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit blocked the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Regional Haze” plan, which would have imposed $2 billion in costs without achieving any visibility changes in the time period included in the Federal Implementation Plan.
Under the Federal Implementation Plan, power plants would be required to install costly, unnecessary upgrades to their generators to become compliant with the rule. Texas and other industry petitioners filed suit in the Fifth Circuit in February to challenge the validity of this rule. Texas filed a motion to stay any enforcement of the rule, while the EPA filed a motion to dismiss the case or transfer it to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The Fifth Circuit granted the State’s stay motion while rejecting the EPA’s the motion to dismiss or transfer, explaining that the plan was likely unlawful, and the costs of compliance with the rule would increase rates for Texas consumers as well as endanger grid reliability if power plants were forced to close.
The court further explained that Texas has “demonstrated a strong likelihood of success in establishing that the EPA acted arbitrarily, capriciously, and in excess of its statutory authority when it disapproved the Texas and Oklahoma implementation plans and imposed a federal implementation plan.”