Republicans file brief against EPA rules

Congressional Republicans are filing a brief in opposition to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations requiring permits for some greenhouse gas emissions.

The agency’s action, the lawmakers said in a "friend of the court" brief filed on Monday, amounts to a power grab from the executive branch.

“The EPA continually attempts to sidestep Congress and expand its role in advancing a partisan political agenda,” Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the House Science Committee chairman, said in a statement. “Disregarding the authority of Congress to set environmental policy undermines the democratic process. The Obama administration continues to overstep its constitutional authority as it attempts to enact job-killing regulations.”

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At issue before the Supreme Court is whether the agency’s responsibility to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles extended to stationary sources of pollution like power plants. The challenge stems from regulations the EPA issued under the Clean Air Act in 2009 requiring some large facilities to obtain permits affirming they are trying to minimize their emissions.

The 2009 rules are separate from in-the-works regulations limiting air pollution from coal- and gas-fired power plants. Those new rules are a central component of President Obama’s climate agenda for his second term.

Opponents of the EPA's permitting rules say that the EPA did not have enough evidence to support issuing the new rules on power plants in addition to cars and trucks. 

In a statement, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that the rules were part of the Obama administration’s ”war on coal and Kentucky jobs.”

In addition to Smith and McConnell, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Reps. Andy Barr (R-Ky.), Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) and Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) also signed on to the brief.

The high court is scheduled to hear arguments on six challenges to a 2012 appeals court ruling, which upheld the regulations, on Feb. 24.