Kansas and 14 other states have asked a federal court in Washington, D.C., to halt the Environmental Protection Agency’s new greenhouse gas regulation before it takes effect.
The states previously had filed suit asking the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to block the new regulation before it became final, but the court in June ruled that the challenge was premature. Since the Obama administration announced the new final regulation last week, the states yesterday renewed their request.
The so-called Clean Power Plan, also known as the “111(d) regulation” in reference to the Clean Air Act provision it relies upon, manifests EPA’s policy judgment—never enacted or authorized by Congress—that coal-fired generation should be systematically disfavored in this country. Beginning August 3, States have been given only 13 months to design, draft, and submit initial state plans, which must demonstrate how the state will replace coal-fired generation with entirely different sources such as natural gas, wind power, and solar power.
“This is no ordinary regulation, and the administration’s approach to it has been anything but ordinary,” Schmidt said. “We asked EPA for a delay but did not get a straight answer. So now we’re asking the federal court to order a delay.”
The lawsuit filed yesterday does not challenge the merits of the regulation, which remain under review by the states. Instead, it focuses on the unusually short and rigid deadlines for compliance EPA has imposed and asks the court to order a delay so the timelines conform to a more traditional regulatory process.
“This regulation appears to have more to do with rushing to restructure the energy sector of the American economy than with protecting the environment,” Schmidt said. “If that sort of dramatic and costly restructuring is warranted, it should be decided by the people’s elected representatives in Congress, not by unelected bureaucrats at the EPA. This unaccountable, government-knows-best approach smacks of central economic planning. The agency’s rush to force states to implement its new directives makes the whole process even more suspect.”
The case is In re West Virginia, et al., in the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Case No. 15-1277. A copy of the filing can be found at http://1.usa.gov/1Esbhv5.