by Ellen M. Gilmer
EnergyWire Reporter

As a throng of challengers file legal briefs criticizing the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan as overreaching and unconstitutional, one group is stepping forward with a simpler, but serious, allegation: U.S. EPA let lobbyists write the rule.

The Energy & Environment Legal Institute told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Friday that EPA’s controversial climate rule should be sent back to the drawing board because the agency crafted provisions of the plan through “backdoor dealings” with environmental lobbyists.

“Clearly EPA was taking its marching orders from outside the agency,” said David Schnare, general counsel for the conservative watchdog group. “Well, that’s against the law, frankly.”

In its filing and a related report, the legal institute refers to specific ex parte communications between Michael Goo, a former senior policy adviser at EPA, and staffers at the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council and Clean Air Task Force. The group says Freedom of Information Act requests revealed emails from 2011 in which Goo used both his official and personal email accounts to share planning documents and drafts of rule provisions with members of the environmental groups. Goo previously worked as NRDC’s climate legislative director.

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