American Electric Power Welcomes High Court Ruling

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Smokestacks owned mostly by American Electric Power billow emissions from the Conesville Power Plant in Conesville, Ohio. The Supreme Court recently ruled that the authority to seek reductions in power plant emissions rests with the federal Environmental Protection Agency.(Photo: Ally Marotti / WOSU)
Smokestacks owned mostly by American Electric Power billow emissions from the Conesville Power Plant in Conesville, Ohio. The Supreme Court recently ruled that the authority to seek reductions in power plant emissions rests with the federal Environmental Protection Agency.(Photo: Ally Marotti / WOSU)

American Electric Power of Columbus today says it welcomes a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in an air pollution case. The high court blocked a federal lawsuit by states and conservation groups against AEP and four other utilities seeking limits on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. WOSU’s Tom Borgerding reports.

By an eight to nothing vote the Supreme Court ruled that the authority to seek reductions in power plant emissions rests with the federal Environmental Protection Agency. AEP spokeswoman, Melissa McHenry, says the utility welcomes the ruling in the seven year old case.

“Since the day the lawsuit was filed back in 2004, we have always said that states and other parties should look to Congress and not the courts to set policies on a global issue like climate change.” McHenry says.

The lawsuit by a handful of states and some environmental groups sought specific emission reductions from AEP and other electric power companies. David Doniger at the Natural Resources Defense Council says carbon dioxide emissions from coal-burning power plants threaten communities.

“Its driving stronger storms and floods. And in some parts of the country its making things much drier, stronger droughts. These are all threats to our health and well-being and our safety.”

The EPA says it will decide by next year whether to order utilities to cut their emissions of carbon dioxide.

Tom Borgerding WOSU News

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