States, Private Groups File Lawsuits Against EPA

More than half of the states and several professional associations filed lawsuits against the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on October 23, charging that the EPA has exceeded the authority granted to it by Congress in setting carbon dioxide limits for power plants.


The Hill (a Washington, D.C.-based political newspaper) reported that 24 states kicked off the legal onslaught against the EPA on the morning of the 23rd, with two more states, North Dakota and Oklahoma, filing separate lawsuits.


That afternoon, several nationwide professional organizations filed similar suits. These included the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the American Wood Council and the American Forest & Paper Association (in a joint suit), and the National Mining Association and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (in another joint suit).


The Hill quoted a statement from Karen Harned, executive director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses’ Small Business Legal Center: “The EPA is doing an end-run around Congress by imposing in the form of regulation a law that the legislative branch of government has already expressly rejected. This is a crystal clear violation of the constitutional separation of powers.”


The point of contention among those suing the EPA centered around the agency’s setting of strict carbon dioxide limits for power plants — all in the name of preventing “climate change.”


Thomas Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, was critical of the EPA’s new regulations:


The EPA’s rule is unlawful and a bad deal for America. It will drive up electricity costs for businesses, consumers and families, impose tens of billions in annual compliance costs, and reduce our nation’s global competitiveness — without any significant reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions.


EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, of course, defended her agency’s actions, saying,


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.


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