LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge was in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday for oral arguments in a lawsuit brought by 29 states, including Arkansas, challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan for reducing carbon emissions from power plants that contribute to climate change.


In a statement issued after the arguments before the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ended, Rutledge said, “The so-called Clean Power Plan will skyrocket electric rates for Arkansans. With the slow economic growth, no Arkansas family or business owner, especially those on fixed incomes, can afford these higher costs. This plan is illegal, and thankfully the U.S. Supreme Court has put in place an unprecedented stay, preventing its implementation.”


Rutledge said she was pleased the appeals court heard oral arguments and hopeful that it “will recognize that the EPA overstepped and the plan should not be allowed to go forward.”


The Clean Power Plan would require states to develop plans for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from coal-burning power plants that contribute to climate change, with the ultimate goal of reducing emissions nationwide by 32 percent by 2030. Arkansas, which relies more heavily on coal-fired power plants than most states, would have to prepare a plan to reduce its emissions by 36.5 percent.


The Supreme Court issued a stay in February preventing the plan from being implemented until legal challenges against it are resolved.


Glen Hooks, director of the Arkansas Sierra Club, said in a statement Tuesday, “While Attorney General Rutledge is in D.C. again, wasting Arkansas tax dollars and protecting polluters, Arkansans are busy building a clean energy future for our state.


“Arkansas is adding hundreds of megawatts of clean solar and wind energy while our largest power plants are burning dramatically reduced amounts of dirty coal. In fact, Arkansas is now on pace to exceed its carbon reduction goals early — but Rutledge still opposes the Clean Power Plan’s commonsense protections for our air, water, and health,” he said.