BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple on Wednesday signaled a potential legal challenge to proposed federal rules aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants and oil refineries.
"We cannot jump to a much higher standard for CO2 overnight," the Republican governor told representatives from more than 20 states and companies that own utilities and power plants. "It simply is not possible. It's not attainable, and we will fight that with every tool that we have available."
The federal Environmental Protection Agency is crafting rules, part of a Climate Action Plan released by President Barack Obama last year, that would cap emissions at existing coal-fired power plants and set limits for emissions on all new coal plants. If adopted, new coal plants would be limited to 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per megawatt hour of electricity they generate. The current average for the seven coal-fired plants in North Dakota is about 2,250 pounds per megawatt hour.
The EPA plans to release a draft of the rules in June and a final version a year later. The deadline for states to submit plans to meet the new rules is June 2016.
The North Dakota Health Department and Bismarck-based Basin Electric Power Cooperative hosted the two-day meeting that organizers said was intended to foster discussion on how states should respond to the new requirements.
"We have an opportunity to do some communicating at this key stage of the process that might just do some good," Dalrymple told the more than 100 officials in attendance, including some EPA representatives.