McConnell to states: Don't comply with EPA climate rule

McConnell to states: Don't comply with EPA climate rule

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellRocky rollout for Senate healthcare bill Overnight Healthcare: Latest on Senate healthcare bill | Four conservatives say they'll oppose | Obama slams bill | Health groups offer scathing criticism Sanders: I hope McConnell listened to protesters outside his office MORE (R-Ky.) is urging state officials not to comply with the Obama administration's signature climate rule.

McConnell, a stringent opponent of the regulation, said states should not submit a design plan for limiting carbon pollution from existing power plants.

ADVERTISEMENT
"The regulation is unfair. It's probably illegal. And state officials can do something about it; in fact, many are already fighting back," McConnell said in an op-ed published in the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The rule, which the EPA is working to finalize this summer, requires states cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

"Think twice before submitting a state plan — which could lock you in to federal enforcement and expose you to lawsuits — when the administration is standing on shaky legal ground and when, without your support, it won't be able to demonstrate the capacity to carry out such political extremism," McConnell said.

McConnell not only calls on Kentucky's state leaders, but every state to join in pushing back against the regulation.

However, Kentucky's Secretary of Energy and Environment Len Peters said last month that he found the EPA's outreach and open door policy for the regulations to be helpful.

"The outreach they’ve done, I think, is incredible,” Peters said.

Each state has different targets they must reach in curbing emissions, and each is required to submit a design plan for those reductions to the EPA based on the energy makeup of the state. 

The EPA contends the plan affords states flexibility and can cut emissions as they see fit. Rather than shutting power plants, states have the ability to build up solar or wind, or launch energy efficiency programs. 

The agency also noted that "from day one" it has been "reaching out and engaging with the public, industry, environmental groups, other federal agencies and state and regional energy reliability officials."

EPA added that in the coming weeks it will start its planning process to develop a proposed federal plan that state officials can follow, or look to, when drafting their own plans. 

Still, McConnell and other Republicans argue the rule would hurt the U.S. economy and kill energy jobs "under the guise of protecting the climate."

"Refusing to go along at this time with such an extreme proposed regulation would give the courts time to figure out if it is even legal, and it would give Congress more time to fight back," McConnell said.