Even After Supreme Court Ruling…Kiss Corette Goodbye

My first question following Monday’s news out of the US Supreme Court: Now that the Supreme Court rejected the EPA regulation, is there any chance that the Corette coal plant in Billings, Montana could be up and running again? 

The answer: you may as well kiss the plant goodbye.  Well, that’s my answer.

Here’s the official answer:

Decommissioning and demolition work is already under way. Talen Energy has no plans to restart the Corette plant.

That’s what Talen Energy spokesman George Lewis told me via e-mail.  Bottom line: too little, too late from the US Supreme Court. 

The Wall Street Journal added this in Tuesday’s editorial:  The Mercurial Court; The Supremes rebuke the EPA but decline to rein in its abuses.

Though the direct benefits from reducing mercury only amount to $4 million to $6 million annually, the EPA conjured “co-benefits” of $37 billion to $90 billion on reality-free assumptions. As an example of how the EPA rigs such analysis, it claims that 15% of pregnant women in Wisconsin catch and eat 300 pounds of lake fish a year and thus fewer newborns would be exposed to the toxic substance in utero. That’s a lot of fishing by pregnant women.

But here’s the, er, catch. Justice Scalia’s opinion says the agency can’t regulate without considering costs, but his decision also says the EPA can still decide what counts as a cost. Uh-oh.

So while Michigan is a welcome rebuke to EPA arrogance, presumably the agency can still do most of what it wants as long as it claims to have considered costs. In any case, most of the utilities targeted by the EPA rule have already shut down those coal plants or spent billions to comply. They won the legal battle but lost the climate war.

While the SCOTUS decision may be too little, too late for Corette, the ruling is still welcome news in Big Sky Country- the Saudi Arabia of coal. 

Count on Coal Montana issued the following statement today from spokesperson Chuck Denowh in reaction to the Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn the EPA’s MATS rule.

“This is a major victory for the thousands of Montanans who work in the coal industry.  The Supreme Court has made it clear that the EPA must make sure the benefits of the rules they propose justify the costs. 

“This ruling could have significant implications for the EPA’s pending regulations to reduce GHG emissions.  The GHG rules are projected to have major costs but will result in only a one percent reduction in global carbon emissions.  The GHG rule costs are concentrated in states like Montana, where we will see higher prices for energy, slowed economic growth, fewer jobs, and a tax shift that will increase property taxes.”



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