Adventures in Legal Obstructionism, Part II: Activists’ Relentless Fight Against Electricity

While activists in the north engage in internecine warfare over wind power, their cohorts in the south continue their determined legal maneuvering to halt development of new coal-fired power plants.  As the ClimateIntel blog noted yesterday, several organizations have filed petitions with the Georgia Office of State Administrative Hearings to block emissions permits for two plants. 

Such challenges are certainly not unusual.  This one is especially notable, however, because activists had previously opposed one of the targeted plants — to be built in Early County — on the grounds that the state-awarded permits didn’t account for greenhouse gas emissions under the federal Clean Air Act.  In 2008, a state trial judge’s ruling blocked the permits even though, as a Washington Legal Foundation paper on the decision argued, EPA hadn’t yet determined whether carbon dioxide was an air pollutant.   The victory was short-lived though, as a state appellate court set aside the lower court’s results-oriented ruling, remarking that a contrary result “would engulf a wide range of potential CO2 emitters in Georgia … in a flood of litigation over permits, and impose far-reaching economic hardship on the State.”

Undeterred by this court’s ruling, or apparently, the implications of higher energy costs, Atlanta-based group GreenLaw and other legal activists are now shopping their grievances in another forum.  One hopes Georgia administrative officials will consider, as the Georgia Appeals Court did, the interests of state citizens above and beyond the national agendas of narrow ideologues. 

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