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Public Service Commission to sue EPA

The Mississippi Public Service Commission has voted to sue the federal Environment Protection Agency over new air impact regulations that could threaten the reliability of electric service.

Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to take legal action, one day after the U.S. House of Representatives’ energy and commerce committee held a hearing on the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.

A preliminary analysis of the regulation impacts conducted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission showed up to 16 percent of the country’s electricity capacity could be at risk.

Under the EPA restriction states must comply with new emissions reduction requirements by May 2012, or shut down coal-fired generating plants. EPA says the rule will help avoid tens of thousands of premature deaths and illnesses, achieving billions of dollars in public health benefits.

All three commissioners voted to sue. Commissioner Brandon Presley made the motion to sue “so state regulators can have a seat at the table.” Commission Leonard Bentz said the state should get involved, otherwise the EPA would “ram rules down our throat” and tell the state to find a way to pay for it.

The Commission’s goal is to file suit by Oct. 7.

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