States Aim to Pre-emptively Block Power Plant Regulations
Via Roll Call:
Nonetheless, Senate Majority LeaderMitch McConnell, R-Ky., has proven adept at reinserting Congress in the debate. In March, the coal-state senator publicly urged states to defy the EPA by refusing to submit plans for complying with the rule for existing plants, which he argued will eventually be thrown out by a court.
It’s a risky proposition for the states, which face the prospect of the EPA stepping in and mandating its own compliance plan in their borders. Oklahoma Attorney General E. Scott Pruitt last week likened the threat of an EPA backup plan to “the proverbial gun to the head” in an appearance before Inhofe’s committee.
However, Oklahoma Republican Gov. Mary Fallin last month became the first governor to take McConnell’s advice, issuing an executive order prohibiting the state from submitting a compliance plan to the EPA.
McConnell also surprised climate advocates by publicly warning foreign nations against negotiating with the Obama administration on an international climate agreement that is supposed to be completed in Paris later this year.
When EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy showed up at the Senate Appropriations Committee earlier this month to defend the agency’s fiscal 2016 budget request, McConnell reminded her Congress couldn’t pass a cap-and-trade climate bill even when Democrats controlled both chambers.
“The failure of Congress to sign off should signal to other countries that they should proceed with caution in the December climate talks in Paris,” he said.
During the hearing, McConnell also suggested a new avenue for critics when he read aloud from an obscure section of the Clean Air Act he said would require states to gain congressional approval to form regional compacts for complying with the rule for existing plants.
David Doniger, a longtime attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council who helped develop the group’s suggestions for how the EPA could regulate greenhouse gases from power plants, later dismissed McConnell’s reasoning as a non-issue. Still, the majority leader’s point highlights that the EPA critics will leave no stone unturned in their quest to void the regulations.
Responding to McConnell, McCarthy reiterated the EPA is acting under the authority provided by Congress, and predicted the rule will “withstand the test of time in the courts.”
“Yeah, that’s going to be the test,” McConnell responded. “You’re going to have to prove it in court.”
See the article here.
- On May 10, 2015