Energy

Republican AGs Slam EPA For Ignoring Supreme Court Ruling

REUTERS

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor

The Republican attorney generals of Texas and West Virginia are demanding the Obama administration stop working on its signature global warming regulation, which they argue violates a Supreme Court order.

“Their efforts and those of your agency to try to make the Power Plan a fait accompli fail to accord proper respect for the Supreme Court’s unprecedented decision to halt the Power Plan—a decision that divests this agency of authority to enforce the rule and calls into serious question the rule’s legality,” AGs Ken Paxton of Texas and Patrick Morrisey of W. Virginia sent in a letter Monday to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Morrisey and Paxton ask the EPA to stop working on aspects of its so-called Clean Power Plan (CPP) despite a Supreme Court ruling in February ordering the agency to halt implementing the rule. Most recently, EPA officials have started to craft a green energy incentive program to reward states that reduce emissions beyond their federal mandate.

“The entire point of the Supreme Court’s extraordinary action in putting a stop to the Power Plan was to preserve the status quo pending the outcome of the litigation,” the AGs wrote in their letter. “EPA should respect that action by leaving things the way they are until the courts have had their say.”

In April, 14 state environmental regulators sent EPA a letter asking for “additional information and technical assistance related to the final Clean Power Plan.” The 14 state officials acknowledged the court stay, but asked the EPA to use taxpayer dollars to continue working on the CPP.

EPA used the letter as a pretext to continue working on parts of the rule, arguing the court stay does not bar them from working with states that want to voluntarily comply with the CPP.

“Finally, though we acknowledged that States may take voluntary steps to reduce emissions, we cautioned that EPA may not require States to take action in any way concerning the Power Plan,” Morrisey and Paxton wrote. “To do otherwise would plainly violate the Supreme Court’s order.”

Morrisey and Paxton are leading a 27 state coalition suing EPA to derail the CPP. There’s also a group of 17 states backing the EPA, led by New York AG Eric Schneiderman — the same AG who’s leading an investigation into global warming skeptics.

States opposing the CPP won their first victory against the Obama administration in February when the Supreme Court ordered the EPA to stop working on the rule. The ruling was especially damaging, since the CPP was the main vehicle Obama planned to meet his pledge to the United Nations on carbon dioxide emissions cuts.

EPA officials moved quickly to assure businesses and environmentalists the agency would continue to work on the rule, despite the court stay.

“Are we going to respect the decision of the Supreme Court? You bet, of course we are,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told utility executives in February. “But it doesn’t mean it’s the only thing we’re working on and it doesn’t mean we won’t continue to support any state that voluntarily wants to move forward.”

Now, Morrisey and Paxton are pushing back against the agency.

“At a minimum, we urge you to consider that you are spending scarce resources on a rule that the Supreme Court has indicated raises serious legal questions,” the AGs wrote. “For that reason, if no other, numerous States have put their pencils down following the stay order.”

EPA did not immediately respond the a request for comment from The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Update: An EPA spokeswoman reponded to TheDCNF after this article was published. Here’s what the spokeswoman said:

We will review and respond to the letter. Many states and tribes have indicated that they plan to move forward voluntarily to work to cut carbon pollution from power plants and have asked the agency to continue providing support and developing tools that may support those efforts, including the CEIP. Sending the proposal with details about the optional Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP) to the Office of Management and Budget for interagency review was a routine step and it is consistent with the Supreme Court stay of the Clean Power Plan. The proposal is informed by an extensive public outreach and engagement process that began late last year and has included engagement with hundreds of interested stakeholders.

The last year has been an incredible one for progress on climate and clean energy – with major milestones both domestically and internationally, and tremendous momentum in the transition of our energy sector here in the United States. These market signals speak for themselves. The CPP isn’t driving these shifts; it was designed to underpin them. Even without the CPP in place yet, they’re happening anyway.

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