Energy

Texas And West Virginia Shred Obama’s Climate Plan As ‘Unlawful’

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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The attorneys general of Texas and West Virginia blasted President Barack Obama’s climate agenda in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, calling it unlawful and warning the president not to unconstitutionally bypass Congress on the Paris climate negotiations.

“First, we believe you have a duty to acknowledge to negotiating nations at Paris 2015 that the centerpiece of the president’s domestic CO2 reduction program is being challenged in court by a majority of States and will likely be struck down,” reads the letter to Secretary Kerry. “Second, in order to be legally binding, any agreement arising from Paris 2015 must be submitted to the United States Senate for ratification under clear constitutional requirements.”

Texas and West Virginia are leading the campaign against the president’s Clean Power Plan. They are joined by 27 other states who argue that the new EPA rules are an unconstitutional encroachment on states’ rights, reports Financial Times. The Plan sets carbon dioxide emission limits and enhances regulations in the industry to shift utilities towards green energy.

The attorneys general contend that the Clean Power Plan will likely fail in the courts, therefore the president has no mandate for climate action in Paris. They also stress that any agreement reached at the Paris climate summit must be approved by congress in order to be legally binding.

“We understand from recent press reports that the president intends that any Paris 2015 agreement will ‘not include legally binding reduction targets’ and thus will ‘definitely not…be a treaty,'” reads the letter to Secretary Kerry. “We hope this is a candid recognition that the president’s agenda lacks support at home, and is not intended to suggest that the president will instead attempt to ratify a Paris 2015 accord through an executive agreement, as we believe that would be clearly unlawful.”

Many fear that the Obama Administration will try and maneuver around Congress by using an executive agreement to approve the accord. French foreign minister Laurent Fabius encouraged the president down this path saying it was crucial to avoid the hostile republican Congress, according to Heritage. White House spokesman Josh Earnest attacked Republicans, questioning whether people who disagreed could be trusted to oversee this issue when he was asked about congressional oversight.

“I think it’s hard to take seriously from some Members of Congress who deny the fact that climate change exists, that they should have some opportunity to render judgment about a climate change agreement,” said Earnest to reporters.

Texas and West Virginia are both leaders in American energy production. Texas has a thriving shale industry and is the largest oil producer in the country, while the backbone of West Virginia’s economy is coal production, reports Financial Times. The attorneys general argue that the Clean Power Plan upends their industries and undermines the rights of states by driving the expense of coal and oil production up, forcing producers towards green energy.

Secretary Kerry has said the agreement will not be legally binding, however contradictions from other world leaders and the European Union have continued to stir speculation and confusion.

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