The Clean Power Plan infringes on the sovereignty of the states and stretches the imagination of what Congress intended in the Clean Air Act, Oklahoma’s attorney general told a panel Thursday.
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt told the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s Environment Subcommittee that he believed in the Environmental Protection Agency’s role in the government and he supports clean air and water. However, he feels the states themselves are supposed to be the primary environmental regulators, not the federal government.
The Clean Power Plan, President Obama’s signature environmental regulation on carbon emissions from new and existing coal power plants, violates that ideal, Pruitt said.
“States that decline to take legislative or regulatory action (to meet the EPA’s emissions cuts) face insufficient electricity to meet demand,” he said.
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He added, “We are all for clean power and no one … has a stronger interest in clean air in Oklahoma than we do.”
Pruitt is one of 27 state attorneys general suing the federal government to block the Clean Power Plan. The regulation is stayed by the Supreme Court while it undergoes legal challenge and oral arguments that are scheduled in the D.C. Court of Appeals in September.
Pruitt told the subcommittee the Obama administration should have worked through Congress to pass its environmental goals. However, it grew frustrated with having to work with congressional Republicans and decided to exploit a section of the Clean Air Act, he said.
“We didn’t get democracy. We got a regulatory cram-down,” Pruitt said.
EPA officials have defended the process that formed the Clean Power Plan, noting the hundreds of public meetings held around the country and thousands of pages of public comment accepted by the agency.
However, that’s not good enough for Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla., who is also chairman of the subcommittee.
Bridenstine said the EPA is overreaching with its regulation and didn’t take into account the possible rise in power prices that it would cause.
“This is unacceptable. EPA regulations should always respect the sovereignty of the states, especially since it is the citizens in each states who bear the brunt of the rules,” he said.
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- On May 27, 2016