States file brief against EPA rules

Nine states are lining up against the Obama administration in an upcoming Supreme Court case over contentious environmental regulations.

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The states filed a friend of the court brief with the high court on Thursday to oppose the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) attempt to regulate power plant emissions that cross state lines.

They say that the EPA did not have the authority to issue the regulations in 2011. The rules were a core component of the Obama administration’s agenda to reduce air pollution.

“This move by the EPA is just one more effort to slam the door on energy-producing states," West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R), who is leading the states’ effort, said in a statement. "It is a blatant attempt to promote a reckless agenda that picks winners and losers and puts our nation’s goal for energy independence in a tenuous position."

Attorneys general from Arizona, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming also signed on to the brief.

They want the Supreme Court to uphold a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that struck down the EPA regulations last year. The appeals court ruled that the Clean Air Act did not give the EPA the powers to force pollution cuts in 28 states with emissions that blew into downwind states.

The regulation required cuts to nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide emissions from power plants in those upwind states.

Green groups and the EPA saw the Supreme Court’s June decision to take up the case as a sign of hope that the rules could be reinstated.

The high court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on the case on Dec. 10. It should issue a decision by next summer.