South Carolina’s electric cooperatives are supporting a pair of lawsuits that challenge the legality of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new regulations on fossil fuel power plants.

The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina and Central Electric Power Cooperative on May 9 filed a declaration in support of separate lawsuits by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and a coalition of 23 state attorneys general, including S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson. (See the declaration here or below).

“While we share the EPA’s goal of protecting the environment, we can’t support a plan that jeopardizes the reliability of South Carolina’s electric grid while driving up power bills,” said Mike Couick, CEO of the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina. “We need a realistic path forward.”

The EPA regulations aim to greatly reduce carbon emissions from existing coal-fired power plants and new natural gas-fired units. The rules would require those power plants to either throttle down their output or capture and store their carbon emissions with a technology that is unproven, unaffordable and commercially unavailable.

These regulations come as demand for electricity soars in South Carolina and across the Southeast due to population growth and economic development, including a parade of clean energy manufacturing projects dedicated to producing electric vehicles and the parts that power them.

“South Carolina is one of the fastest growing states in the nation. We urgently need more electricity, not less,” said Central CEO Rob Hochstetler. “These regulations make it harder for electric cooperatives to keep up, threatening our ability to keep the lights on for residents and businesses across our state.”

This declaration follows the S.C. electric cooperatives’ August 2023 and December 2023 comments opposing the proposed EPA regulations as unlawful, unworkable and unrealistic.

S.C. electric cooperative leaders also have testified at the State House and in Congress about these regulations and other threats to the reliability of the Palmetto State’s power grid.


About us: South Carolina’s electric cooperatives together purchase electricity and distribute it to some 2 million South Carolinians across more than 800,000 accounts. These independent, member-owned cooperatives serve all 46 counties and more than 70% of the Palmetto State’s land mass.