West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is leading a 23-state coalition in a lawsuit aimed at slapping down President Obama’s newly published anti-coal EPA rules.
Essentially calling Obama’s Clean Power Plan a jobs killer, AG Morrisey’s office announced the lawsuit on October 23, charging that the EPA’s strict power rules unlawfully expand the federal government’s regulatory power over electricity production and consumption in nearly every state in the country.
“The Clean Power Plan is one of the most far-reaching energy regulations in this nation’s history,” Morrisey said in his announcement. “West Virginia is proud to be leading the charge against this administration’s blatant and unprecedented attack on coal.”
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Obama’s EPA has been pushing its Clean Power Plan for two years; but this month, the rules officially entered the Federal Register and became required guidelines for the power industry.
The new regulations were finalized in August and are the first federal rules putting limits on carbon dioxide emissions at currently operating power plants. The rules also set targets for each state to cut energy-sector CO2 emissions 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. The rules are part of what some call Obama’s greater global warming relief scheme.
The EPA insists that the new rules are flexible enough to allow each state to figure out their own ways to achieve the mandates, but detractors say that the rules will devastate jobs, arbitrarily close power plants, and make energy costs skyrocket.
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Explaining the basis for his suit, Morrisey said: “EPA claims to have sweeping power to enact such regulations based on a rarely-used provision of the Clean Air Act but such legal authority simply does not exist.”
Regardless of the Constitutionality of the rules, the costs to the public are a major sore spot for many among the states. But, say some, none of this should be a surprise because in 2007 when he was running for President, then candidate Obama said that under his plan to slow global warming, the costs to power and heat our homes would “necessarily skyrocket.”
Since the rules were published into the Federal Register on October 23, a 90-day period for public comments began. But the publication also allows those looking to stop the rules the first opportunity to take the EPA to court.
“This allows us to go to the court and finally have our review on the merits,” Morrisey told The West Virginia Record. “We’ve been working to get it to this point. The rule is manifesting itself in West Virginia, and it’s critical to set this rule aside.”
In the Petition for Review and Stay Motions, which will be filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the states argue the rule is illegal and will have devastating impacts on the states and their citizens.
The states claim that Section 111(d) rule exceeds EPA’s authority by unlawfully forcing states to fundamentally alter state resource-planning and energy policy by shifting from coal-fired generation to other sources of power generation, with a significant emphasis on renewable sources. The states also say the rule is illegal because it seeks to require states to regulate coal-fired power plants under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, even though EPA already regulates those same plants under Section 112 of the act.
The states challenging the rule are West Virginia, Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, Wyoming, the Arizona Corporations Commission, and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.
The EPA’s Clean Power Plan will also be challenged by a long list of power companies and other interested groups.
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