U.S. Court Decision Against Controversial Emissions Rule Will Save Ratepayers Significant Cost Increase

Public Service Commissioner Eric Skrmetta strongly defended the U.S. Court of Appeals’ split decision today vacating the EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule in favor of the existing Clean Air Interstate Rule of 2005.

Skrmetta helped lead a September 7, 2011 motion that authorized the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC) legal counsel to file actions to prevent the implementation of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), also known as the “Transport Rule”. The LPSC filed an appeal to the rule in the U.S. District Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia circuit on October 7, 2011. On October 11, 2011, the LPSC also filed for a motion to stay the rule which would have gone into effect January 1, 2013.

For more than a year Skrmetta has made numerous public addresses voicing his opposition to what he called “an over-reaching federal mandate.” In a media release earlier this year, Skrmetta noted, “It’s not only a destructive energy policy that’s injurious to residential consumers, but can lead to further out-migration of jobs as goods and services employers will seek to avoid oppressive U.S. regulations. These federal rules are only created to satisfy a political agenda of the radical environmental left to eliminate manmade carbon dioxide.”

Today’s decision by two of three federal judges sided with Louisiana and more than three dozen challengers to the EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (“CSAPR” or “Transport Rule”), which imposes caps on emissions for 28 states. The court ordered the EPA to return to the 2005 rule, known as the Clear Air Interstate Rule (“CAIR”), until a viable replacement to the cross-state pollution rule is made. The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals judges renders the EPA’s regulation of interstate air pollution as unlawful. The Louisiana Public Service Commission case was a parallel case stating that the rule put undue financial burden on power producers and threatens electricity reliability by forcing some companies to shut older plants. The rule violates the Clean Air Act, or CAA, by requiring states to reduce their emissions by more than their own significant contributions to downwind states’ nonattainment of air quality standards, according to the decision.

Said Skrmetta, “This decision will protect ratepayers from significant cost increases. In many cases, ratepayers would likely have paid twice as much for electric power had this rule been upheld.” The opinions of Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Circuit Judge Thomas Griffith vacated the rule, with Circuit Judge Judith Rogers dissenting.