Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Saturday, October 24, 2015

EPA extends power over states

For the second time in the last few months, a sizable group of states have filed suit against th EPA.  In each case, the plaintiffs assert the EPA has overstepped its powers to make regulations that will limit freedoms and raise household expenses for Americans: One is called the Clean Power Rule, and the other is the Clean Water Rule.

The impacts of EPA's plans are wide-reaching and can be a hardship for many people.  These rules are the equivalent of heavy taxes on every property owner (and renter) and every person who uses electricity and heats their home.  Even though people will be cold and broke, they should feel proud that they are doing something noble for the common good.

After all, it's for the planet!  
(Is there enough wind and sun to power the planet's needs?)

Below are excerpts from articles in the US News and The Wall Street Journal.

US News, October 24, 2015 By Michael Biesecker AP
States and industry groups reliant on fossil fuelschallengeObama's Cean Power Plan in Court

"The Clean Power Plan is one of the most far-reaching energy regulations in this nation's history," said West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, among those leading the challenges. "I have a responsibility to protect the lives of millions of working families, the elderly and the poor, from such illegal and unconscionable federal government actions."

The Obama administration and environmental groups counter that the rules are needed to cut carbon emissions while curbing the worst impacts of climate change and sea-level rise. They also say the plan will spur new clean-energy jobs.

The EPA says it has authority to enact the plan under the Clean Air Act. At issue are dueling provisions added to the law by the House and Senate in 1990. The EPA's interpretation relies on the Senate language, but opponents argue that the House version should win out.

EPA already regulates other powerplant pollutants under a different section of the Clean Air Act, and the opponents claim the law prohibits "double regulation."

The states challenging the plan in court are Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming and Wisconsin.

Wall Street Journal, October 24, 2015 By Amy Harder and Brent Kendall
States Sue Over EPA Clean Power Rules
Challengers are expected to focus on whether the EPA exceeded its powers by pushing utilitiesto shift to cleaner forms of energy

WASH­ING­TON—What could be a years­long le­gal and po­lit­i­cal bat­tle over the Obama administration’s main cli­mate change ini­tia­tive formally kicked off Fri­day, with two dozen states filing a lawsuit against reg­u­la­tions aimed at cut­ting U.S. carbon emis­sions.

The states sued in a fed­eral court here to chal­lenge the rules, which seek to re­duce car­bon out­put from hun­dreds of power plants across the na­tion. Con­gres­sional Re­pub­li­cans also said Fri­day they would in­tro­duce mea­sures in the com­ing week seek­ing to block the rules.

In the works since 2013 and is­sued in early Au­gust, the reg­u­la­tions require a 32% cut in powerplant car­bon emis­sions by 2030 based on emis­sions lev­els of 2005. They are de­signed to force the util­ity in­dus­try, the largest source of U.S. car­bon emis­sions that con­tribute to cli­mate change, to shift to­ward cleaner-burn­ing en­ergy sources over the next sev­eral decades.

The EPA is re­ly­ing upon a sel­dom-used sec­tion of the Clean Air Act called 111(d) as its au­thor­ity for the rules, which leaves an open­ing for le­gal scru­tiny. Chal­lengers are expeced to fo­cus on whether the agency ex­ceeded its pow­ers by pushing util­i­ties to shift to cleaner forms of en­ergy in­stead of just focus­ing on pol­lu­tion con­trols at fos­sil-fuel-fired power plants.

Se­nior EPA of­fi­cials say they are con­fi­dent the rules, known as the Clean Power Plan, are legally sound.

“The Clean Power Plan has strong sci­en­tific and le­gal foun­da­tions, provides states with broad flex­i­bil­i­ties to de­sign and im­ple­ment plans, and is clearly within EPA’s au­thor­ity un­der the Clean Air Act,” EPA Ad­min­is­tra­tor Gina Mc­Carthy said Fri­day.

The state coali­tion’s law­suit against the EPA was filed Fri­day in the U.S. Court of Ap­peals for Dis­trict of Co­lumbia Cir­cuit, a pow­er­ful federal court that reg­u­larly re­views the le­gal­ity of gov­ern­ment reg­u­lations.

Many of the states and politi­cians lead­ing the le­gal and po­lit­i­cal challenges, in­clud­ing West Vir­ginia and Ken­tucky, de­pend heav­ily on coal for their economies and elec­tric­ity. West Vir­ginia At­tor­ney Gen­eral Patrick Mor­risey said the EPA rule was il­le­gal and “one of the most ag­gres­sive ex­ec­u­tive-branch power grabs we’ve seen in a long time.”

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