Turn to the nation's most objective and informative daily environmental news resource to learn how the United States and key players around the world are responding to the environmental...
Dec. 12 — New York has picked up the support of two major environmental groups in its legal fight over a plan to subsidize nuclear plants with zero emissions credits.
The Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council have joined the case in support of the state’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit challenging the credits ( Coal. for Competitive Elec. v. Zibelman, S.D.N.Y., No. 16-cv-08164, motions to dismiss 12/9/16 ).
Some $7.6 billion in credits for three nuclear plants owned by Exelon Corp. and Entergy Corp. are at stake in the lawsuit.
The suit is significant because of the strange bedfellows and the rifts it has caused among electric power companies and among environmental groups.
Exelon and Entergy, with a portfolio that includes nuclear plants, are pitted against the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Dynegy Inc. and NRG Energy Inc., whose portfolios are largely natural gas, oil and coal-fired.
New York environmental groups like the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater and the New York Public Interest Research Group strongly oppose the credits, viewing them as an expensive bailout of the financially struggling nuclear plants.
The Natural Resources Defense Council said it does not support the zero emissions credit program, but disagrees with the legal claim that the state does not have the authority to make legal decisions about its electricity mix. That argument, “if successful, could create uncertainty for scores of state renewable energy policies in states across the country,” NRDC said in a statement.
In its motion to dismiss the lawsuit, the state Public Service Commission said the Federal Power Act “preserves state authority to regulate electric generation facilities and to create and regulate commerce in the environmental benefits of those facilities.”
It said the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year in Hughes v. Talen Energy Marketing LLC ( Hughes v. Talen Energy Mktg., LLC, 136 S. Ct. 1288, 2016 BL 123717 (2016)) does not apply to this case because the zero emission credits are “environmental attribute sales.”
The Coalition for Competitive Electricity, Dynegy and NRG sued the state in October over the credits, arguing that they are preempted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and violate the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Devin McDougall, an attorney with Sive, Paget & Riesel P.C., told Bloomberg BNA that splits in the industry and the environmental community are not that unusual. There has been a historical split among environmental groups over nuclear power, he said.
In addition, he said, nuclear generator and natural gas and fossil fuel generators are “natural business competitors.”
McDougall said one of the key legal issues in the case is “at what point do these state programs start to affect interstate markets.”
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)