EPA CROSS-STATE AIR POLLUTION RULE ROLLED BACK FOR "OVERREACH" BEYOND THE LAW
SLF Amicus Brief in Case Warns of Rolling Brownouts, Job Losses
August 22, 2012: In a major blow to the Obama Administration’s ongoing efforts to reach beyond the letter and intent of the Clean Air Act, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has struck down the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, finding that the draconian and costly rule exceeds the EPA’s power under the Act. EME HOMER CITY GENERATION, L.P. v. EPA, et al. (No. 11-1302).
Southeastern Legal Foundation (SLF), which participated in the case as an amicus representing intervenors San Miguel Electric Cooperative, Inc., Industrial Energy Consumers of America, Putnam County, Georgia, and itself, (Click Here for SLF Brief) praised the 2-1 decision by the three-judge appellate panel as “a critical and binding statement that the Obama EPA does not have carte blanche to make rules beyond its authority under existing law – an issue we continue to challenge in appellate court on the greenhouse gas emissions global warming regulations,” said Shannon L. Goessling, SLF executive director and chief legal counsel.
“Alongside states and industries, we argued before the court that the baseless and scientifically questionable emissions cuts ordered by the EPA dramatically went beyond the Clean Air Act into unauthorized and terribly costly territory, including instability on the nation’s power grid and national rolling brownouts like those experienced in recent years in California,” Goessling added.
The court’s decision took aim at the EPA overreach, holding that the Obama EPA Rule enabled the EPA to “impose massive emissions reductions on upwind states without regard to the limits imposed by statutory text [in the Clean Air Act].”
By court order, the Obama EPA must now return to administering the Clean Air Interstate Rule initiated under the Bush administration. The decision rolls back the Obama EPA Rule that, according to the EPA’s own admission, would cost $2.7 billion in compliance burdens on energy producers and utilities and result in the closure of a large number of coal-fired power plants. Job losses following the Rule’s implementation would be in the tens of thousands in the energy production and coal industries.
“Representing a dozen members of Congress and more than a dozen trade associations and employers in our separate challenge against the Obama EPA’s greenhouse gas rules, we note that the second-highest court in the nation has now vacated a key component of the Obama plan to cripple American energy producers without measurable gains in overall air quality,” said Goessling. “This is a first step in the process of ensuring that checks-and-balances work in our government – Congress makes the laws, the courts interpret the laws, and the Executive branch enforces the laws, not makes new laws beyond what Congress and the courts intend.”