A top Senate Republican is warning that the Environmental Protection Agency will try to restructure every industry in the country if it can successfully defend its Clean Power Plan in court.
The Clean Power Plan is President Obama’s signature environmental regulation on new and existing coal and power plants and has been in the crosshairs of Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., since it was first proposed. Inhofe, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, said Thursday he thinks the regulation could just be a sign of things to come.
The EPA is currently being sued by more than half of the country to block the regulation from coming into effect, and the Supreme Court has issued a stay against the rule while the legal challenge is heard. If the EPA successfully defends the rules, Inhofe thinks that could end up being a major turning point for the agency.
“If EPA can convince the courts to uphold their approach to regulating the utility industry through the means Congress never authorized, then they will take those arguments and use them to restructure every industrial sector in the country in a manner that appeases the political obligations of the president,” he said.
Inhofe’s comments came at a Thursday hearing of the committee on the impact of the Supreme Court’s stay of the Clean Power Plan.
The Clean Power Plan seeks to limit carbon emissions from new and existing coal power plants by setting state goals for carbon emission cuts. States are then able to come up with their own plans on how to reach those goals.
However, many critics of the rules believe it is the Obama administration’s way of going around Congress to institute a cap-and-trade system to drop carbon emissions, even after lawmakers rejected that idea years ago.
Inhofe said the Supreme Court putting a stay on the rule shows that there are serious reservations among the justices on the nation’s highest court about the legal arguments behind the Clean Power Plan. But despite the stay, the EPA is attempting to pressure states into complying with the rule, he said.
“The EPA is attempting to downplay the significance of the stay and argue against the clear legal procedures as a last ditch effort to scare states into spending scarce resources complying with a rule that very well could be overturned,” he said.
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- On June 9, 2016