The Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is showing no signs of regulatory restraint. The latest example is its proposed “Clean Power Plan” regulations on affordable electric power. These proposed rules ignore –
(i) Our U.S. Constitution in creating and imposing a de facto regulatory energy consumption tax and trammeling upon the rights and responsibilities of the States under the 10th Amendment,
(ii) The strong opposition of many States,
(iii) The Clean Air Act’s specific provisions and requirements, and
(iv) Finally, the increased financial hardship this energy consumption tax will impose upon households.
Worst of all, hardest hit will be families and seniors on modest and fixed incomes.
Governor, “We the People” need you to stand up to protect your citizens, and the businesses that employ them, and say “NO!” to this unlawful attempt to use the EPA to totally restructure electric power generation in our State and across the Nation – and to impose new energy consumption taxes upon us all.
First, EPA by all accounts, has done an “inferential stretching” of the Constitution and the Clean Air Act. It presumes it has the regulatory authorities to squash the rightful role of the States and intentionally destroy the economic benefits to consumers of fossil-fuel (primarily coal and increasing natural gas costs) generated power. The EPA proposed action will only deprive our Nation of the benefit coal and gas have always provided in the form of less costly energy. This has enabled the U.S. to be internationally competitive in trade, and enabled our economic growth, job creation, and the opportunity for Americans to plan for and have a more secure retirement.
The American Founding Fathers warned of such federal government efforts to encroach on state authority. In Federalist Papers No. 46: “The Influence of the State and Federal Government Compared,” James Madison wrote:
“… (W)here the sentiments of several adjoining States happened to be in unison, [they] would present obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter. But ambitious encroachments on the authority of State governments would not excite the opposition of a single State, or a few States only. They would be signals of general alarm.”
Leading constitutional scholar and Harvard Law Professor Laurence H. Tribe recently testified in Congress that:
“…(T)he plan conflicts with settled principles of federalism and Supreme Court precedent because it would commandeer state governments, treating them more like marionettes, dancing to the tune of the federal puppeteer, than like laboratories of democracy. … (R)educing states to this submissive role would confound the political accountability that the Tenth Amendment guarantees. EPA’s plan would increase energy costs over local opposition, while cloaking the increase in the Emperor’s garb of state choice, with state governments taking the blame for policies actually dictated and necessitated by EPA. …” (March 17, 2005 – House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Energy and Power hearing on “EPA’s Proposed 111(d) Rule for Existing Power Plants: Legal and Cost Issues”)
In addition, 19 state attorneys general also recently wrote the EPA Administrator (1) reiterating earlier correspondence that the proposed regulations were unlawful, and (2) that EPA’s proposal has expired, because it had failed to act upon its proposed regulation in the time allowed under law. As they wrote:
“On May 9, 2014, Louisiana, West Virginia, and Nebraska, along with 13 other States submitted extensive comments on the Proposed Rule, explaining that the Proposed Rule is unlawful. …Considering all of the grounds upon which this rule is likely to be overturned, and because the rulemaking threatens the citizens of the States, we as the chief legal officers of the States are notifying your agency that this Proposed Rule has expired. It must therefore be withdrawn.” (March 25, 2015 letter to EPA Administrator Re: Proposed Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions From New Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units, 79 Fed. Reg. 1430 (Jan. 8, 2014) (Docket No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0495) signed by the attorneys general of Louisiana, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Alabama, South Carolina, Alaska, South Dakota, Arizona, Texas, Arkansas, Utah, Georgia, Wisconsin, Kansas, Wyoming, and Kentucky)
Moreover, the EPA action will become a de facto energy consumption tax, created, imposed, and enforced by its bureaucracy – and not the Congress– upon American households to finance the administration’s strategy to displace and replace fossil-fuel energy with the so-called “green energy” sources that are both heavily subsidized and very costly. Worse yet, this new energy consumption tax will hit households not once, but twice, in a true “ripple effect” – first, in their electric bills, and then a second time in the increased costs of goods and services they need.
A recent industry study released last Fall by the energy economics firm Energy Venture Analysis, Inc. (“EVA”)” found nationally that the EPA proposal would increase the typical household’s annual electricity and natural gas bills by $680, or 35 percent, from 2012 compared to 2020, escalating each year thereafter as EPA regulations grow more stringent. For industrial users, the increase is a 56% increase.
Governor, these rate increases are EPA-created and imposed taxes. The pending “EPA energy tax” impacts by 2020 upon residents and businesses of our State and for many other States are significant — and will particularly hit hard those households with modest or limited fixed incomes, as well as many businesses. For example (from the EVA study):
The US power industry is heavily invested in environmental controls and the development of new clean coal technologies. The Obama Administration preempts this industry-wide effort, while other nations and regions of the world do not come close to doing what we have done and will be doing.
It is time for our respective Governors to stop this proposed EPA action in its tracks and enforce the constitutional statutory limits upon this federal administrative leviathan.
Governor, stand up for your State and its citizens and just say “No!” to the EPA.
“We the People”