The lawsuit, which will be considered by a federal appeals court this summer, involves EPA’s “Clean Power Plan” rules, which aim to reconfigure state electricity systems. It is expected to be a landmark case that could shape New Mexico’s energy and economic future. In issuing these regulations, the EPA purports to have discovered the authority to regulate how states generate, transmit, and use electricity, without any authority from Congress to do so.
The coalition’s brief outlines major legal and economic concerns with the rule, arguing that EPA has trampled on the rights of states to determine their own energy mix and implement environmental standards in a manner tailed to their own circumstances. The availability of affordable electricity is a key feature of keeping America competitive in a global economy. The brief explains that EPA’s challenged rule will pose significant harm to regional and local communities, particularly in economically challenged rural areas.
Affordable, reliable energy provides our members a critical advantage in today’s intensely competitive economy. If the courts uphold EPA’s rule, that advantage could be lost and American consumers will be left footing the bill, leading to adverse ripple effects throughout the economy, which will threaten individual businesses, countless jobs, and entire communities. By prematurely and unnecessarily forcing power plants to close, EPA’s regulation will result in higher costs for electricity and all the goods and services that depend on it, which means less money remaining for health care, food, education and other critical needs.
EPA, in this plan, is requiring New Mexico to reduce its electricity sector carbon emissions rate 36.3 percent by 2030. An independent analysis by NERA Economic Consulting has projected that this will increase state electricity prices by an average of 10 percent and up to 14 percent in peak years.
“This increase would be devastating to our state’s economy as it is struggling to recover from the recession,” said Carla Sonntag, NMBC President. “It would be harmful and unjustly punitive to New Mexicans living in poverty with the highest unemployment rate in the nation.”
The NMBC’s brief echoes the call from nearly 160 challengers that have filed suit against EPA, including 27 states, and a host of business, labor and consumer groups. A decision in the case is likely to be issued by the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit later this year. From there, the challenge is expected to make its way to the Supreme Court, which has ordered EPA to halt all implementation and enforcement actions on the rule until it has the opportunity to consider the case.
Contact: Carla Sonntag (505) 836-4223