August 17, 2015

Multiple States Challenge EPA Regulatory Overreach

Last week, 17 U.S. states filed a lawsuit with the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulation governing emissions from existing U.S. power plants. (Read more about this rule in last week’s Connecting the Dots.) 

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrissey argued the states could not wait to file the lawsuit until the rule was published because, under the rule, states must quickly begin work on their plans to comply with the rule. Morrissey was also confident the courts will eventually overturn the EPA’s rule. He said, “We want to ensure that no more taxpayer money or resources are wastefully spent in an attempt to comply with this unlawful rule that we believe will ultimately be thrown out in court.” In addition to West Virginia, the states participating in the lawsuit are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and South Dakota. 

In an analysis released last week, the Institute for Energy Research estimated the EPA’s regulation for existing power plants could increase the number of premature deaths by 14,000 by 2030. The Institute argued the EPA “ignore[d] the link between health and wealth” and that “by increasing electricity prices and decreasing the disposable income of low-income families, the rule may end up causing far more premature deaths than it prevents.” A disproportionate number of these deaths would be among lower-income individuals, the Institute said. 

In other action from the states against the EPA: 13 states, led by North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, asked a federal court to stop the EPA’s Waters of the United States rule from going into effect later this month. Attorney General Stenehjem said the rule “would usurp state and local control over vast reaches of water in North Dakota and across the nation” and is “an unnecessary and unlawful power grab by the federal government that will do nothing to increase water quality …” Joining North Dakota in that lawsuit were: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, South Dakota and Wyoming. Click here to read more from Connecting the Dots about this rule.