The state of Utah has now joined Oklahoma in outright rejecting complying with the Clean Power Plan after the Supreme Court halted the regulations earlier in February. Utah was already a member of a coalition of 30 states challenging the EPA’s Clean Power Plan in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Under the plan, all states are required to come up with their own carbon emission reduction goals or have federal goals imposed on the state. It directs states to lower their greenhouse gas emissions by a third by 2030, specifically targeting the coal industry. An outright rejection may be viewed as the state is unwilling to come up with their own goals, thereby requiring the federal government to interfere in each state’s coal industry and electricity production.
Groups suing the agency say is an impossible goal that will raise energy prices and raise the potential for rolling blackouts. In addition, a study by NERA Economic Consulting concluded that:
The EPA has severely underestimated the cost of compliance with its regulation of carbon dioxide from power plants, and by doing so it is trying to make Americans believe that the government can force the electric generating sector to eliminate a massive amount of low-cost coal-fired generation for little or relatively no cost. U.S. consumers of electricity will pay for prematurely retiring coal-fired plants through substantially higher electricity prices. Because EPA has set emission reduction targets by state, the impact of the higher costs will not be borne equally, but 40 states (out of 47 affected) could see average electricity prices rise by 10 percent or more and 27 states could see average electricity prices increase 20 percent or more.
With the recent Supreme Court decision to stay the implementation of the Clean Power Plan, other states say they will continue to work on complying with the plan. EPA senior officials have said they will meet with any states that wish to voluntarily continue working on the regulations.