In another sign that the NSR program is alive and well under the Obama administration, the United States (together with the State of Illinois, filed suit Thursday against Midwest Generation, alleging violations of NSR requirements at six coal-fired power plants. Although the action is not too surprising, given that the Bush EPA had issued a notice of violation to Midwest Generation in 2007, it remains noteworthy. Each new prosecution serves to remind generators that failure to comply with NSR rules can lead to significant costs.

Of course, that in terrorem effect on other generators is precisely what the administration and environmental groups want. Unfortunately, for those of us who believe that the NSR program is an incredibly wasteful way to reduce air pollution, such litigation only detracts from efforts to make air pollution control regulations more cost-effective.