Ohio electric co-ops file challenge to EPA’s Clean Power Plan

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COLUMBUS — Cooperative utilities are petitioning the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to review the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.

The Ohio-based Buckeye Power joined the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and 36 other cooperative generation and transmission utilities in filing the petition to review.

“This regulation is an overreach of authority by the EPA and has the potential to cost Ohio’s electric cooperative members hundreds of dollars a year on their electric bills while providing little, if any, environmental benefit,” said Pat O’Loughlin, president and CEO of Buckeye Power.

Buckeye Power is the wholesale power provider for Ohio’s member-owned electric distribution cooperatives.

O’Loughlin said the EPA’s interpretation of the Clean Air Act gives the agency much broader authority over the energy sector than it has ever had in the past.

EPA overreaching?

Electric cooperatives are also asking the courts to stay this rule until the courts have ruled on the legal authority of the EPA to implement these regulations. Earlier this summer the Supreme Court overturned the mercury rule after years of legal fighting. Because there was no stay from the courts, utilities were forced to shut down power plants prematurely.

“Delaying this rule is the common sense approach,” said O’Loughlin.

Prior to the challenge filing, Debbie Wing, director of media relations at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, said in a prepared statement that “the forced shut down of co-op power plants before their financial obligations are met means co-op member-owners will be paying twice for their electricity: once for the shuttered plant and again for power from somewhere else.”

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