Sutherland Coop Law Blog
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Endangered Species Listing May Risk Reliability

Several hundred distribution and generation and transmission coops may be affected if the northern long-eared bat is added to the endangered species list.  The House Natural Resources Committee is considering this designation as the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and others argue that listing the bat will pose a risk to reliability because coops remove bat roosting trees as part of their vegetation management efforts.  A determination on whether to list the bat is expected in April 2015. Click here to read...
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Court Strikes Down New Jersey Power Plant Subsidy Program

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has determined that New Jersey’s Long-Term Capacity Agreement Pilot Program impinges on the jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission over wholesale sales of capacity in interstate commerce.  The ruling is the latest in a string of similar cases in which state subsidy programs have been struck down on jurisdictional grounds.  While state incentives for new generation are not categorically prohibited, any program will likely require a more narrow scope to avoid the jurisdictional debate.  Click here for more information...
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EIA Report: No Coal-Fired Sources Added in First Half of 2014

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that new generation capacity added during the first half of 2014 came only from natural gas and renewable sources, such as wind and solar facilities.  No coal-fired sources were added during this time frame.  Coops can expect more natural gas capacity and a risk of increased price volatility.  Click here to read more.
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Fee Penalties Imposed for Frivolous Clean Air Act Claim

The Sierra Club will be forced to pay $6.4 million in attorneys’ fees for what a Texas federal court has deemed a “frivolous” Clean Air Act citizen suit. The ruling represents a win for defendant utilities and may help discourage environmental groups from bringing future unmeritorious lawsuits. For more information, click here. (Subscription required)
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EPA Preliminarily Approves Plan to Keep Arizona Coop Plant Open

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has preliminarily approved a plan proposed by Arizona Electric Power Cooperative (AEPCO) to upgrade a power plant to lower emissions, keep the plant operating, and save hundreds of jobs.  Congressman Ron Barber is recognized as leading negotiations between AEPCO and the EPA.  Click here for the details.
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Kentucky Coop Plans to Deactivate Coal Plant

East Kentucky Power Cooperative will continue deactivating its coal-fired Dale Station power plant with complete shutdown expected by April 2015.  Subject to regulatory approval, ash waste from the site will be transported to an ash landfill.  The plant will be placed in indefinite storage to comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) scheduled to take effect in 2015.  Read...
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Tenth Circuit Stays EPA’s Rejection of Wyoming’s Regional Haze Plan

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit has stayed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s rejection of part of Wyoming’s plan for addressing regional haze.  The stay was sought by the State of Wyoming, Basin Electric Power Cooperative, and PacifiCorp.  The court also granted a request by Basin and PacifiCorp to extend the compliance deadline beyond March 2019 for the duration of the stay.  To read more, click here.
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Some State Regulators Say EPA Clean Power Plan Unworkable

Regulators from Texas, Indiana, Montana and Arizona told the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee’s energy and power subcommittee that the reduction targets in the U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan are “too much, too soon.”  To read more, click here (subscription required).
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USDA Announces Investment to Improve Reliability of Rural Electric Systems

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) plan to invest more than $518 million in rural electric cooperatives to improve rural electric infrastructure.  More than $23 million of the announced funding will be targeted for smart grid improvements.  For more information and a list of the loan recipients, click here.
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NRECA Backs Online Cybersecurity Degree Program

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) is supporting an initiative by the Energy Providers Coalition for Education to offer online degree programs in cybersecurity.  Click here for more.
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North Carolina Coop Entitled to Trial Over Condemnation

North Carolina’s Rutherford Electric Membership Corporation will get another chance in court to condemn certain land on which it wishes to run transmission lines.  Landowner Tim Sweeney, a Cary, North Carolina, video game developer, challenged the condemnation last spring, and the Superior Court dismissed Rutherford’s condemnation petition.  The North Carolina Court of Appeals has now remanded the case back to Superior Court for trial.  Click here for...
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Basin Preparing to Submit Information for Carbon Capture Test Center

Basin Electric Power Cooperative (Basin) and Black Hills Power have set a September date for submitting site-specific information on certain of their respective power plants in the hopes of one of them attracting a test center for carbon capture and sequestration technology.  The test center is part of the State of Wyoming’s response to stricter environmental standards.  Basin is interested in hosting the plant at its Dry Fork Station outside of Gillette, Wyoming.  To read more about this story, please click...
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Basin Electric Seeks Site in North Dakota for Potential Gas-Fired Generation Facility

Basin Electric Power Cooperative (Basin Electric) is looking for land and meeting with representatives in Emmons County, North Dakota, regarding a new gas-fired generation facility.  Basin Electric is in the early stages of considering both whether and where to build such a facility.  Click here for the full story.
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Arizona Congressman Urges EPA to Meet with Coop on Clean Power Plan

U.S. Congressman Ron Barber of Arizona, along with his Arizona colleagues in Congress, has called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to meet with executives from Arizona Electric Power Cooperative to discuss the impact of the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan.  Click here for more.
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