Missouri River Energy Services (MRES) supports APPA suit challenging Clean Power Plan, addresses Basin filing

The American Public Power Association (APPA) and the Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG) recently filed a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit challenging the legality of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan rule, which aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) from existing power plants. APPA and UARG also filed a motion to stay the effective date of the rule and extend its deadlines until the courts have resolved whether EPA has legal authority to implement these regulations.

“MRES supports APPA’s efforts as it advocates on behalf of all community-owned electric utilities, including MRES and its members,” said MRES CEO Tom Heller.

The Clean Power Plan was published in the Federal Register on Oct. 23, 2015. APPA and UARG, as well as several other parties, filed challenges to the plan that same day.

At its recent MRES® Area Meetings and Regional Policy Maker Dinners, Heller addressed the Clean Power Plan issue, and potential impacts the CO2 rules could have on MRES. Heller said, “In the scenarios we have evaluated so far, MRES believes it is possible that one unit at LRS could be shut down, but at this time we are uncertain how this will play out with the numerous legal challenges facing EPA and the final rule, and the fact that each state must, by 2018, develop its own plan to implement the rule.”

On Nov. 5, 2015, Basin Electric Power Cooperative (Basin) also filed a motion for a stay in the case challenging the Clean Power Plan. Basin is project operator of the Laramie River Station (LRS). LRS has three coal-based units, of which Western Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (WMMPA) owns a 16.47 percent undivided share. WMMPA provides the financing for MRES.

In support of its motion, Basin stated it will cost the cooperative at least $5 billion to comply with the Clean Power Plan rules, and Basin will be required to shut down two units of Laramie River Station (LRS). Basin acknowledged that a decision to close one or more units requires a vote of all Missouri Basin Power Project (MBPP) participants, including WMMPA. Other MBPP participants include Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association, Lincoln Electric System, Heartland Consumers Power District, and Wyoming Municipal Power Agency. Basin acknowledged in its filing that it is not making any representations regarding what other MBPP participants may have to do to comply with the Clean Power Plan.

MRES wants to clarify that no decision has been made to shut down any units of LRS, and MRES has not completed analysis of the final rule. 

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For more information, contact Joni Livingston at Missouri River Energy Services, phone: 605-261-3637;
e-mail: joni.livingston@mrenergy.com