- Fifteen Republican Governors from states with fossil fuel industry ties signed a letter to President Obama that asserts the new EPA Clean Power Plan “exceeds the scope of federal law" by violating stipulations of the Clean Air Act under which it claims authority.
- The EPA proposal exceeds its authority, the Governors argue, because the Clean Air Act “expressly prohibits EPA from using Section 111(d) to regulate power plants because EPA already regulates these sources under another section of the Act.”
- The letter also asserts the EPA can only regulate emissions “from specific sources” whereas the Clean Power Act asks for emissions reductions “outside the physical boundaries of such sources (i.e., “outside the fence”),” which not only violates federal law but potentially also “directly conflicts with established state law.”
The EPA's Clean Power Plan aims to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2030 by imposing state-specific reductions.
The letter was signed by the Governors of Wyoming, Wisconsin, Utah, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, North Dakota, North Carolina, New Mexico, Mississippi, Indiana, Idaho, Arizona, Alaska, and Alabama.
The letter specifies several “practical problems” associated with requiring states to limit greenhouse gases that include (1) enforcement, (2) availability and impacts of renewables, (3) construction and funding of natural gas infrastructure, (4) nuclear waste disposal, and (5) electricity transfers across state borders.
The letter’s argument cites arguments made before the Supreme Court against the EPA’s Clean Air Act authority to justify its assertions. But the Supreme Court, as Presidential Climate Advisor John Podesta recently told Utility Dive, has repeatedly upheld the EPA’s right to act under that authority. Podesta also said the plan would stand up to legal challenges because the EPA carefully wrote it to meet existing law.