New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is threatening legal action as an end game for stopping the Department of Energy’s proposal to subsidize coal-burning power plants.
In comments filed this week, he argued that the proposal would violate multiple federal laws.
“This unlawful, thinly-veiled corporate giveaway threatens to impede New York’s progress in protecting the environment, and securing a cleaner, more sustainable, and affordable energy future,” Schneiderman said. “The Trump administration continues to put polluters before the health and well-being of New Yorkers. We’ll continue to fight back.”
On Sept. 28, Energy Secretary Rick Perry signed a notice of proposed rulemaking directing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to consider adopting a rule to require that electricity generators with a 90-day fuel supply on-site be paid higher prices, principally, coal and nuclear power plants. The Department of Energy claims that subsidizing “fuel-secure” power plants is necessary for the reliability and resiliency of the electricity system, ensuring adequate fuel is available to power plants “to operate during an emergency, extreme weather conditions, or a natural or man-made disaster.”
Schneiderman charges that, because DOE has failed to establish any need or other basis for the proposed subsidy, the proposed rule would violate requirements of both the Federal Power Act and federal Administrative Procedure Act. The notice of proposed rulemaking “provides no evidence that fuel unavailability has created a reliability or resilience problem and no analysis demonstrating that the [proposed required subsidy] would solve that nonexistent problem.”
He said the agency has violated the Administrative Procedure Act by not allowing sufficient time or providing sufficient detail and rationale regarding the proposal to allow for meaningful public comment.
Despite the potential for the proposed subsidies for coal-burning power plants to result in significant adverse impacts to New York’s environment, FERC has not performed an analysis of these impacts pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act, Schneiderman said.