Georgia is one of 24 states suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over President Barack Obama’s signature climate change policy. The new Clean Power Plan requires states to significantly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that come from coal-fired power plants.
“There is no justification for a rule that will lead to higher costs and fewer jobs because it’s entirely ineffective,” Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens wrote in a statement.
About a third of the electricity in Georgia comes from coal, and Georgia is home to the No. 1 greenhouse gas emitter in the country, Georgia Power’s Plant Scherer, near Macon, according to the EPA.
Environmentalists say the new rule is a key way to fight climate change and that Georgia Attorney General Olens is stalling.
“The attorney general is just a real enthusiast for all the denialist activity nationally. You got a lawsuit, he’ll sign on,” said environmental lobbyist Neill Herring.
Even as the state sues to stop the law, it’s also preparing to implement it. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources is meeting with academics, nonprofits and other agencies to work through the requirements in case the lawsuit fails.
“It may be legal, and we’ll of course comply once these things are confirmed, and in the meantime we’ll be planning,” said Georgia Environmental Protection Division Director Jud Turner. He said he supports the lawsuit.
“Nobody is debating whether greenhouse gases should be regulated or controlled in some fashion,” he said. “It is the matter in which the rule does it. It is the sweeping nature of it.”
The suit was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.