In an unexpected victory for the Constitution’s separation of powers concept, the U.S. Supreme Court put President Obama’s Clean Power Plan on hold — at least for now.
Several of West Virginia’s elected officials, including Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Republican Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, have fought the plan, saying it would have disastrous effects on the state’s economy. The plan calls for a decrease in carbon emissions by 2030, and many states have already begun forming compliance plans to send to the Environmental Protection Agency ahead of the regulations’ implementation.
“Make no mistake — this is a great victory for West Virginia,” Morrisey told The Associated Press “We are thrilled that the Supreme Court realized the rule’s immediate impact and froze its implementation, protecting workers and saving countless dollars as our fight against its legality continues.”
West Virginia and 26 other states have fought the Clean Power Plan, calling the regulations an “unprecedented power grab” by the Obama Administration. The stay freezes the plan until all legal challenges are resolved.
Although the compliance period doesn’t begin until 2022, most states have already begun preparing. Meanwhile, companies already are shuttering coal-fired power plants rather than invest millions to make them compliant with the regulations. Because those plants are buying less coal, mines across the region have shut down, putting people out of work.
Supporters say reducing carbon emissions will lessen the effects of climate change. Opponents argue the plan kills jobs, will result in higher energy costs and decreased reliability and will have a negligible effect on global emissions.
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said the ruling “sends a strong signal to the EPA that it must stop ignoring the damage its regulations are causing to our energy sector, our economy and our way of life in West Virginia.”
The Supreme Court’s decision is a victory not only for West Virginia and the consortium of states fighting the Clean Power Plan, but also for the legislative process. Time and again, Obama has illegally circumvented Congressional authority to enact policies through executive order or administrative rule making.
The Supreme Court has taken a step toward reining in an out-of-control bureaucratic agency that runs roughshod over existing law and constitutional authority.
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- On February 11, 2016