16 states join to oppose EPA's Clean Power Plan

Capitol Hill

A letter signed by 16 states opposes the Environmental Protection Agency's recently unveiled Clean Power Plan, requesting an "immediate stay" on a program the opposition says "unlawfully exploits Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act."

The 14-page grievance -- addressed to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy -- was authored by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and co-signed by Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming, and requests the agency respond by Friday afternoon "pending the outcome of an impending legal challenge to the rule."

"This request is a necessary first step and prerequisite to confronting this illegal power grab by the Obama administration and EPA," Morrisey said. "These regulations, if allowed to proceed, will do serious harm to West Virginia and the U.S. economy. That is why we are taking quick action to bring this process to a halt."

The controversial Clean Power Plan, unveiled earlier this week, seeks to reduce the United States' carbon dioxide emissions by 32% from 2005 levels by 2030. According to the EPA's plan, individual states would set their own plans to reduce their emissions by September 2016, and until 2022 to comply.

The plan calls upon states to up their renewable generating capacities using natural gas, wind, solar and hydroelectric power sources while decreasing their reliance on fossil fuels.

Per Morrisey's letter, the plan "will coerce the states to expend enormous public resources and to put aside sovereign priorities to prepare state plans of unprecedented scope and complexity."

The program is particularly scorned by states whose economies and power supplies are heavily reliant on coal due to fears that power generators' conversions to cleaner sources might increase energy rates.

"President Obama's plan should be called the 'Costly Power Plan' because it will cost hard-working Americans jobs and raise their energy rates," Wisconsin governor Scott Walker said. "It will be like a buzz saw on the nation's economy."

The EPA has yet to issue a formal response to Morrisey's letter, though McCarthy defended the plan in an blog entry posted Monday, saying the program "puts states in the driver's seat."

"The uniform national rates in the Clean Power Plan are reasonable and achievable, because no plant has to meet them alone or all at once," McCarthy said. "Instead, they have to meet them as part of the grid and over time."

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