CLF Defeats Government’s Motion to Dismiss in Wind Energy Case

In September, the Civitas Institute Center for Law and Freedom (CLF) filed suit against the NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on behalf of a Perquimans County couple. At issue is whether DEQ broke the law when it informed Iberdrola Renewables that its Amazon Wind Farm East would not be subjected to state regulatory standards. Soon after the filing, the Attorney General filed a motion to dismiss and supporting memoranda, to which CLF responded on November 19.

Today, Judge Melissa Owens Lassiter of the Office of Administrative Hearings denied the Attorney General’s motion to dismiss, ruling that the case will continue because the petitioners have standing to bring the suit. Barring an appeal of her decision, the case will head to a hearing on the merits in the spring.

Joining CLF on the case is Dr. David Schnare of the DC-based Energy & Environmental Legal Institute, who was admitted on a pro hac vice basis earlier this fall.

Stay tuned for further updates on this and other CLF cases.

NC Senate May Vote to Ignore Draconian EPA Restrictions

From the N&O:

Lawmakers in Raleigh could decide Wednesday whether North Carolina will become one of a handful of states that will ignore new federal limits on emissions of carbon dioxide from power plants.

The expected debate in the state Senate could make North Carolina a testing ground for the nation’s first attempt to regulate greenhouse gases as a pollutant. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to propose the limits next month, giving states a year to come up with compliance strategies or default to a plan created by the EPA.

The state Senate is set to debate the EPA requirement that North Carolina reduce the emissions by nearly 40 percent by 2030. The state House voted three months ago to direct state environmental authorities to develop a compliance plan, but a Senate committee last week scrapped that idea. If the Senate plots a new policy course to do little or nothing, the issue would have to go back to the House to become state law.

One of the leading critics of the new EPA restrictions is Donald van der Vaart, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, saying the EPA rules are like “forcing a round peg into a square hole.”

A study released in January of this year concluded that the unprecedented new EPA rules would have significantly negative effects on NC, including a loss of more than 32,000 jobs, a fall in disposable income of $3.5 billion and sharply higher electricity rates for homeowners and industrial users.