New EPA Agrees to Consider Global Warming Emissions from Proposed Coal-Fired Power Plants
February 17, 2009
Thanks to the Sierra Club and allies’ legal efforts, President Obama's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today took the first step toward regulating carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. EPA, under the new leadership of Administrator Lisa Jackson, granted a petition from the Sierra Club and other groups calling for reconsideration of an unlawful, midnight memo issued by former EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson which sought to prohibit controls on global warming pollution from coal plants. EPA announced in a letter to the Sierra Club that it will publish a proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register and seek public comments on the decision in the near future.
Today's decision is consistent with a previous ruling by the EPA's Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) in the Bonanza case, which found that there was no valid reason for the Bush administration's refusal to limit carbon dioxide emissions from new coal-fired power plants. The so-called Johnson Memo sought to unlawfully overturn that decision.
Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Environmental Defense Fund filed suit against the Bush administration to overturn the Johnson Memo. That litigation will now be put on hold as a result of today's announcement.
This decision will impact an estimated 100 proposed coal-fired power plants that are currently in the permitting process; companies proposing coal plants will once again need to go back and re-evaluate their global warming emissions.
See other "Stop Polluters" cases.