House lawmakers to EPA: We handle climate policy, not you

Texas lawmakers say the Environmental Protection Agency is moving ahead with climate change regulations that it doesn't have the authority to implement.

In a letter to EPA chief Gina McCarthy, 29 members of Texas's delegation say the administration doesn't have the right to move forward with rules limiting carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.

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"It is our position that climate change policy should be directed by Congress," the letter, signed by 24 Republicans and five Democrats, states. "The decision by EPA to move forward with rule making to regulate CO2 emissions from existing [electric generating units] raises serious legal and implementation questions."

The lawmakers said they side with the views expressed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and the state's public utility commission, that the Clean Air Act is "not the appropriate vehicle for regulating carbon dioxide emissions" from existing coal-fired power plants.

The statement hints at the possible legal challenges the EPA may face after proposing the rule next week.

But those challenges might not fare well, as the EPA is on a bit of a winning streak with federal courts. In recent months federal courts have upheld the EPA's standards for curbing toxic air pollution, and its ability to regulate air pollution from power plants across state lines, all of which have been implemented under the Clean Air Act.

The lawmakers say that the agency's interpretation of its authority under the Clean Air Act is troubling. 

They call on the EPA to work with Congress and their state to ensure consumers are protected, and a large number of power plants are not forced into retirement because of the rule.

The letter is the latest in a string of missives from lawmakers who have voiced concerns surrounding the pending proposal, which will be the first carbon emissions limits for existing power plants in the U.S.

Signatories of the letter included Texas Reps. Lamar Smith (R), Henry Cuellar (D), Pete Sessions (R), Sheila Jackson Lee (D) and Louie Gohmert (R). 

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