North Carolina files lawsuit to compel the federal government to follow the law


North Carolina’s environmental agency filed a complaint today against federal environmental officials for failing to act on a petition that inappropriately blamed North Carolina for contributing to air quality problems in the Northeastern United States.

"North Carolina is a leader in cleaning up its energy sector," said General Counsel Sam Hayes. "The northeastern states' petition was nothing more than a political attempt to shift the blame for poor air quality in the Northeast."

A group of Northeastern states petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, in December 2013 to force a number of states including North Carolina to install unnecessary and expensive controls on emission sources.  The petition failed to demonstrate that emissions from North Carolina's power plants had any impact on the Northeastern states. Under the law, the EPA has 18 months to approve or deny a petition. EPA has taken no action on the petition and the lawsuit filed today will force EPA to take action on the petition. 

The Northeastern states said they filed the petition to "level the playing field for businesses" by driving up electricity prices in North Carolina. The Northeastern states include New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

North Carolina’s complaint asks the U.S. Eastern District Court to find the EPA in violation of the Clean Air Act for failing to perform its duties and to require that the federal agency reach a decision on the petition.

You can read the petition here.

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