New Coal Electricity Plant Carbon Emissions Limited by Georgia Court Order

WSJ reports on a Georgia Court Order limiting carbon emission from a new coal power plant.

Georgia Court Orders
Greenhouse-Gas Limits

July 1, 2008; Page A4

In a decision with potentially significant ramifications for power companies and the national debate over global warming, a state court in Georgia ruled Monday that a proposed coal-burning power plant can't proceed unless its carbon-dioxide emissions are limited.

The ruling against a proposed 1200-megawatt power plant in Early County, Ga., marks the first time that a judge has applied a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision on global warming to emissions from an industrial source, environmental groups said. David Byford, a spokesman for Houston-based Dynegy Inc., which is developing the project with LS Power Group of East Brunswick, N.J., said, "We're disappointed in the ruling and we're planning an appeal."

The Supreme Court's April 2007 decision required the Environmental Protection Agency to determine whether carbon dioxide -- the greenhouse gas most blamed for global warming -- endangers public health or welfare, the legal criteria to be regulated under the federal Clean Air Act. Citing concerns about the impact of such an action on the U.S. economy, the Bush administration has yet to formally issue that declaration, however, and officials in some states have begun to fill the void by setting their own policies aimed at curbing carbon-dioxide emissions.

Action like this will help to drive energy prices higher as Environmental groups plan on using this ruling in 30 other proposed coal plants.

Environmental groups said they planned to use the Georgia court's ruling to hold up about 30 other proposed coal plants that are subject to litigation.

"We will be taking this decision and making the same arguments to push for an end to conventional coal," said Bruce Nilles, who oversees the Sierra Club's National Coal Campaign. The plant's developers, LS Power Group and Dynegy, were reviewing the ruling and didn't have an immediate comment.