Murray Energy sues to block new ozone standard

OREANDA-NEWS. October 29, 2015. US coal producer Murray Energy yesterday filed suit against new federal air quality standards for ozone, citing claims of exorbitant costs and legal overreach by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Murray says the new 70 parts per billion (ppb) standard will cause coal-fired power plants to close prematurely, leading to massive job losses and higher electricity rates. The ozone standard will cut US GDP by \\$1.7 trillion through 2040, the company said.

"This ozone rule is yet another illegal and destructive action aimed at killing these jobs. We have the law, science, economics, cold-hard energy facts, and the Constitution on our side," Murray chief executive Robert Murray said.

EPA published the new standard in the Federal Register yesterday, opening a 60-day window for lawsuits to be filed in the DC Circuit Court. EPA says the lower standard, down from 75ppb, will lead to as much as \\$5.9bn/yr in public health benefits by 2025.

The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set federal air quality standards based solely on public health considerations and not cost. The US Supreme Court in 2001 affirmed that requirement in a unanimous ruling in a review of the 1997 ozone standard.

The revised standard could lead to new limits on NOX emissions from power plants or other sources in some parts of the country, although EPA says that existing programs such as the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, Clean Power Plan and vehicle and fuel standards will help most areas comply. Ground-level ozone, the main component of smog, forms when emissions of NOX and volatile organic compounds react in the air.

The ozone lawsuit is the latest legal action posed by Murray against the EPA. Last week, the company filed challenges to EPA's regulations for new and existing power plants, joining challenges filed by 26 states and more than a dozen business groups.