EPA Says Challenges To Overarching Climate Rules Are ‘Hyperbolic’

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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Environmental Protection Agency officials (EPA) said Monday that the industries and groups pushing back against the environmental regulator’s overarching climate rules are being “hyperbolic.”

“Petitioners’ core legal arguments largely rest on hyperbolic mischaracterizations of this rule as broadly regulating energy markets and generation,” the EPA said Monday in a court brief. “The rule will indirectly impact energy markets, but those impacts do not mean EPA has overstepped its authority.”

Currently there are 30 states and numerous industry groups — coal and other — suing over its so-called Clean Power Plan (or CPP), a rule mandating individual power companies cut their carbon emissions 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

The states argue the CPP violates the Constitution, as well as the EPA-administered Clean Air Act.

The agency disagreed with that contention in Monday’s brief.

“This rule is an air-pollution rule specifically authorized by the Clean Air Act,” EPA argued. “It is not an energy rule. The rule limits emissions of an exceptionally important air pollutant that is emitted in huge quantities by power plants, but it does not regulate any other aspect of energy generation, distribution or sale.”

The Obama Administration, for its part, noted the “rule reflects the eminently reasonable exercise of EPA’s recognized statutory authority,” in the brief to the Court.

“It will achieve cost-effective [carbon dioxide] reductions from an industry that has already demonstrated its ability to comply with robust pollution-control standards through the same measures and flexible approaches. The rule fulfills both the letter and spirit of Congress’s direction,” they said, asking the court deny the opponents’ attempt to have it overturned.

The U.S. Supreme Court suspended the CPP in February, essentially for the purpose of determining President Barack Obama’s environmental rule’s constitutionality.

SCOTUS’s decision was met with cheers from the states bringing lawsuits.

“Five justices of the Supreme Court agreed with North Dakota and other parties that EPA’s regulation would impose massive irreparable harms on North Dakota and the rest of the country and that there was a substantial likelihood EPA was acting unlawfully,” Paul Seby, the attorney representing the North Dakota lawsuit against the CPP, told The Daily Caller News Foundation Feb. 9.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who is leading the states against the EPA, echoed Seby’s mood, calling the SCOTUS’s ruling a “great victory for West Virginia.”

He added: “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.”

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