The administration has proposed first-time national standards for new power plants and expects to propose regulations for existing plants this summer. It will then move on to other large stationary sources such as factories.
In the meantime, the only way EPA can compel companies to address global warming pollution is through a permitting program that requires them to analyze the best available technologies to reduce carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas.
The utility industry, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and 13 states led by Texas are asking the court to rule that the EPA overstepped its authority by trying to regulate greenhouse gas emissions through the permitting program.
The EPA's actions "represent one of the boldest seizures of legislative authority by an executive agency in history," Peter Keisler, representing the American Chemistry Council among two dozen manufacturing and industry groups that want the court to throw out the rule, said in court papers.
In addition to environmental groups, New York, California, Illinois and a dozen other states are supporting the administration, along with the American Thoracic Society, which filed a brief detailing the health costs of climate change.
Also in support of the regulation is Calpine Corp., which operates natural gas and geothermal power plants around the nation. Calpine said it has gone through the permitting program six times and found it "neither overly burdensome nor unworkable."
Looking at the same program, the Chamber of Commerce said it "may be the costliest, most intrusive regulatory program the nation has yet seen."
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