On Tuesday, the U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia struck down the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR). CSAPR was the rule developed to replace the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) which regulates utilities emissions crossing state lines. Had CSAPR been allowed to proceed, utility providers in Kansas would have been forced to choose between providing adequate power and facing criminal penalties, or cutting power and running afoul of reliability laws because states and utilities were only given 180 days to comply with the new emissions standard. The State of Kansas and Kansas Utilities joined more than a dozen states and several power companies last year in challenging the rule, which affects 28 Eastern states. Tuesday's ruling by the court to vacate the CSAPR rule follows a last-minute stay of the regulation at the end of December 2011 before they were set to go into effect on January 1, 2012.
This week's ruling cited the EPA's failure to allow states to implement their own emissions reductions plans before issuing the mandate. Kansas utilities are making great progress toward improved air quality and reducing their emissions voluntarily, and they have agreed to reduce them further, but CSAPR ignored the utilities' good faith efforts without giving sufficient time to comply. I am pleased that the court has recognized that states need more time to make the appropriate changes. The additional time will allow Kansas utilities to continue to work toward emissions reductions without burdening Kansas homes and businesses with unreliable, costlier electricity.