Largest polluters in Washington state to contest clean-air rules

Conservation, air and energy interests are doing their due diligence to make certain Washington State’s largest carbon-pollution emitters comply with the state’s clean air rules.

“National and regional clean air, clean energy, and conservation groups took legal steps [Dec. 9, 2016] to defend Washington state’s authority to enact the Clean Air Rule that requires reductions in carbon pollution from the area’s largest polluters,” Earthjustice announced in its Dec. 12, 2016 “Clean Air, Clean Energy and Conservation Groups Move to Defend State’s Ability to Cut Carbon Pollution from Washington’s Biggest Polluters: Groups join lawsuit to preserve means to enact new rules aimed at limiting greenhouse gas emissionspress release.

“The Department of Ecology standards, finalized in September 2016, limit greenhouse gas emission from major polluters. Industry and utility interests challenged the rule seeking to have the state’s first broadly applicable rule limiting carbon pollution set aside,” the environmental protection organization added.

“Washington has adopted greenhouse gas emission reduction goals to ensure the state does its part to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The Clean Air Rule that is the subject of this litigation establishes greenhouse gas emission standards for the largest contributors to Washington’s emissions, including large industrial and power generation facilities, importers and distributors of transportation fuels, and natural gas distributors,” Earthjustice stated. “The Rule requires these major polluters to gradually reduce their emissions over time, and provides a range of compliance options to give covered entities flexibility in meeting the Rule’s requirements.”

If upheld, the law would go a long ways toward protecting Washingtonians from the damaging effects of related rises in both greenhouse gas emissions and global temperatures. Taken together, both a rise in GHGs and global temperatures have the potential to adversely affect the environment, public health and economy of the state.

“A Thurston County [Washington] Superior Court judge will hear oral argument[s] on the legal challenges to the Clean Air Rule on March 31, 2017,” Earthjustice emphasized.

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