Emissions Pact Participation Challenge Rejected

Jun 14, 2012

A legal challenge to New York’s participation in the regional program to limit greenhouse gas emissions has been thrown out by a state court.

A decision Wednesday in State Supreme Court in Albany dismissed a lawsuit seeking to block New York’s participation in RGGI, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.  New York and other Northeast and Mid-Atlantic have been participating in the regional plan to regulate carbon dioxide emissions by requiring power plants to buy emissions allowances thru auctions conducted by the participating states. A lawsuit filed in 2011 challenging New York’s participation in RGGI was thrown out Wednesday. The court ruled  the petitioners have no standing because they failed to establish harm or injury as ratepayers; that state officials promulgating RGGI rules do not usurp legislative authority; and there could be harm caused to businesses and other economic interests because of an  unreasonable delay in filing the suit by the plaintiffs. The Adirondack Council is the only environmental group that participates in the RGGI auctions,  buying the allowances in order to permanently retire them. Council Spokesman John Sheehan says keeping RGGI intact is crucial.

Lawyer Mark Smith is the lead attorney representing the plaintiffs.  Smith says the court’s decision is contrary to law and he believes appellate courts will rule differently.

The Adirondack Council’s John Sheehan counters that the RGGI program has been beneficial for New York taxpayers.

Officials from the New York State Attorney General’s office were unavailable for comment.  Mark Smith expects to file an appeal within a few weeks.