Coalition: States Should Stand Up to EPA’s Power Grab

Today, the American Energy Alliance joined 31 other organizations in support of Senator Mitch McConnell’s opposition to the EPA’s reckless, costly Clean Power Plan (CPP). The text of the letter follows:

Dear Sen. McConnell,

We, the undersigned organizations, applaud your work with state governors and legislators to push back against the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) usurpation of state electricity policy through its proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP). Both federal and state officials are right to question the CPP’s legality and the repercussions that would result from submission of a State Implementation Plan.

Opposition to the CPP is a natural response to a regulation that would further centralize power in Washington. The EPA is asking for state complicity in the CPP because the agency likely does not have the legal authority to unilaterally implement the CPP’s proposals. Specifically, the Clean Air Act provides no authority for the EPA to control state laws on renewable generation, electric dispatch policy, or consumer conservation incentives. It is because EPA is desperate to legitimize its most brazen power grab to date that it is pressuring states to submit State Implementation Plans.

We also agree with you that states are completely within their legal rights to “just say no” and let EPA take sole responsibility for implementing the 111(d) rule. The right of states to keep their fingerprints off what they regard as a misguided or unlawful rule is basic to the very concept of cooperative federalism.

It is therefore appropriate for Congress, the branch of government charged with keeping the Executive in check, to help states fully understand the obligations and consequences flowing from obscure federal regulations. After all, Congress wrote the laws the EPA is using to justify the CPP.

All of this matters because the CPP would have an enormous impact on ratepayers and state economic growth. Implementation of the CPP could cause double-digit electricity rate increases in over 40 states and could cost the country nearly $479 billion over 15 years, according to the National Economic Research Associates.

Grid reliability will also suffer. Allowing the EPA to rearrange our electricity system could threaten up to 130 gigawatts of reliable power from coal, natural gas, and nuclear power plants – enough to meet the residential power needs of more than 105 million Americans.

It was due to similar consequences that the 111th Congress rejected cap-and-trade legislation. That legislative failure has not deterred President Obama who made explicit his intent to ignore the will of the American people, famously stating, “cap-and-trade was just one way of skinning the cat.” Given that the current administration has decided to circumvent Congress and achieve the same ends via regulatory fiat, you and other Members of Congress, elected by the People, should do everything possible to prevent unelected EPA bureaucrats from dictating national energy policy.

You can see the original text of the letter and the undersigned organizations here.

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