President Obama and his EPA have a favorite play when it comes to their green agenda; if you can’t get the people’s representatives to approve, just do it anyway. However, defenses are finally catching up to these unilateral end runs.
Last March, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Michigan v. EPAthat the agency erred when it failed to even consider the estimated $9.6 billion annual cost to consumers and businesses from its rule reducing mercury emissions.
“One would not say that it is even rational, never mind ‘appropriate,’ to impose billions of dollars in economic costs in return for a few dollars in health or environmental benefits,” wrote Justice Antonin Scalia.
The court did not nullify the rule, but rather sent it back to district court for reconsideration. Meanwhile, the rule remains in place during all this so coal-fired power plants have to continue with expensive retrofitting, while shutting down older facilities.
So despite the favorable ruling, the damage has already been done–and continues to be done–to the coal industry and consumers worried about power bills and electricity reliability.
Tuesday, however, the Supreme Court majority sacked the EPA in the backfield. In a five-four decision following ideological lines the court issued a “stay,” blocking the EPA’s sweeping Clean Power Plan. That’s the administration’s requirement utilities reduce carbon emissions by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 to force the coal industry out of business and steer energy production to more environmentally-friendly sources.
So the EPA’s unprecedented dictum is stopped in its tracks, at least for now. The merits of the case still have to be argued in District Court, and appeals will lead to the Supreme Court as well. However, the issuance of the stay is rare, and it suggests that a majority of the high court has serious concerns about the EPA’s interpretation of a little-used section of the Clean Air Act to become the nation’s defacto energy department.
Liberal Harvard Law professor Lawrence Tribe is among those whocalled the EPA on it’s overreach. “The brute fact is that the Obama administration failed to get climate legislation through Congress. Yet the EPA is acting as though it has the legislative authority anyway to re-engineer the nation’s electric generating system and power grid. It does not.”
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and his staff, including Solicitor General Elbert Lin in particular, deserve credit for leading the fight on behalf of 30 states that are standing up to the EPA. The same goes for Murray Energy President and CEO Bob Murray, who brought the initial lawsuit three years ago.
“It is our case and I’m very happy that we’ve been able to stay this illegal government overreach for our coal miners and for the state of West Virginia,” Murray told me on Talkline Wednesday.
The coal industry has had nothing but bad news for several years now. The combination of market conditions, competition from natural gas and the Obama administration’s regulatory fist have devastated coal and caused trickle down economic hardship in West Virginia and other coal producing states.
Tuesday’s court decision provides some much-needed hope that the Obama administration’s roughshod regulatory run to the left is finally being stuffed.
See the article here.
- On February 11, 2016