Longleaf CO2 Appeal Accepted by Georgia Court of Appeals

21 08 2008

On Wednesday, the Georgia Court of Appeals agreed to review a lower-court ruling that has halted plans for Longleaf coal-fired power plant, the state’s first in more than 20 years.  At issue is whether the state Environmental Protection Division should place legal limits on emissions of carbon dioxide by the planned $2 billion Longleaf Energy Station in rural southwest Georgia.  The plant is a project of Houston-based Dynegy Inc.

The project’s opponents, including an environmental group based at the proposed site of the plant in Early County, say the health impacts of coal-burning technology outweigh the plant’s potential economic benefits.  Appealing from the Administrative Law Judge’s ruling up-holding the permit, environmental groups GreenLaw, Friends of the Chattahoochee, Inc. and Sierra Club sought to overturn the ALJ’s decision.  At the Superior Court level, Fulton County Superior Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore sided with environmental groups opposing the project by ruling in June that the permits are invalid because they don’t regulate CO2, which has been linked to global warming.  You can obtain a copy of Judge Moore’s decision here.

The EPD and Dynegy sought to appeal the decision.  Late last month, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce also submitted a brief supporting the applicants.  See Longleaf Energy Associates v. Friends of the Chattahoochee, No. A08D0472 and Couch v. Friends of the Chattahoochee, No. A08D0473.  Both applicants seek the complete reversal of Judge Moore and argue that Massachusetts v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency only held that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could, not does regulate CO2 under the CAA.  The contention is that Judge Moore jumped the gun and should have waited on the EPA to make the decision as to whether and how to regulate CO2.  Longleaf’s Application can be found here, EPD’s Application here, and the Amici Application of the Chamber, here

As the appeal has been accepted, the case awaits docketing.  Upon docketing, the appellants will have 20 days to file their briefs, the environmental groups will have 20 days thereafter to respond.  Finally, the appellants will have 20 days to file any reply brief thereafter.  We will post upon docketing.

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