More than 200 Republican senators and House representatives on Tuesday filed a legal brief asking a DC court to overturn the Clean Power Plan, saying Congress has not authorised the EPA to reform the nation’s electricity sector.
Led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe, 34 senators and 171 House members filed a so-called Amicus brief in support of the lawsuits against President Barack Obama’s and the EPA’s plan to cut carbon emissions in the power sector.
“The Final Rule goes well beyond the clear statutory directive by, among other things, requiring States to submit, for approval, state or regional energy plans to meet EPA’s predetermined CO2 mandates for their electricity sector,” the lawmakers said.
“In reality, if Congress desired to give EPA sweeping authority to transform the nation’s electricity sector, Congress would have provided for that unprecedented power in detailed legislation.”
They pointed out that Congress had specifically voted down previous attempts at setting up a cap-and-trade scheme in the US, a key policy option in the EPA’s final rule.
“Congress has not authorized EPA to make the central policy choices in the Final Rule,” they said.
Among the signatories were Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, former candidates Rand Paul and John McCain, and Fred Upton, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. One Democrat, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, signed.
The Clean Power Plan aims to cut CO2 emissions from new and existing coal-fired power plants to 32% below 2005 levels by 2030, but is facing stiff opposition from Republicans.
Thirty-nine lawsuits have been filed against it, and earlier this month the Supreme Court voted to stay implementation of the plan until the lawsuits have been dealt with.
The Amicus brief was in support of a lawsuit filed by the West Virginia attorney general, backed by a coalition of 27 Republican states.
The DC Circuit court will hear oral arguments on June 2, though whichever side loses is expected to take the case to the Supreme Court.
By Stian Reklev – firstname.lastname@example.org