Obama’s law professor blasts EPA climate rule

 

A law professor who taught President Obama is criticizing his landmark climate rule for power plants, calling it an overreach of power that threatens energy supplies.

Laurence Tribe, a professor at Harvard Law School, was hired to write comments on the rule by Peabody Energy Corp., the largest coal-mining company in the world. Massey & Gail, Tribe’s law firm, publicized the comments Friday, after they were formally filed Monday.

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“The defects in the proposed rule transcend political affiliations and policy positions and cut across partisan lines,” Tribe wrote, asking that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) withdraw the proposal.

“It is a remarkable example of executive overreach and an administrative agency’s assertion of power beyond its statutory authority. Indeed, the proposed rule raises serious constitutional questions.”

The rule, proposed in June, seeks to cut the power sector’s carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030. The EPA expects the rule to take a huge bite out of coal’s market share in the power sector.

Tribe has called Obama one of his best law students and supported both of Obama’s campaigns for president. He worked in 2010 as a senior counselor at the Justice Department.

His comments focused on four objections to the rule, aruing it violates a decades-long federal policy of increasing coal use; ignores the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches; effectively upsets investment without proper payment and and violates limits on the EPA’s authority.

“The proposed rule lacks any legal basis and should be withdrawn,” he said.

The EPA said it disagreed with Tribe and Peabody, and believes that its rule is on solid ground.

“History has shown us that EPA writes solid rules and they stand up in court — courts have reaffirmed our science and reasoning time and time again,” EPA spokeswoman Liz Purchia said in a statement.

“And let’s not forget — the Supreme Court made clear in 2007, and affirmed recently that EPA has an obligation to limit carbon pollution because it’s a harm to human health.”

Purchia said the agency will nonetheless take Tribe’s comments into consideration when making the rule final, along with all the other comments it received.