McConnell to states: EPA climate rule is illegal

McConnell to states: EPA climate rule is illegal
© Francis Rivera

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellValerie Jarrett slams GOP for not including women in healthcare discussions Healthcare wish lists: What moderates, conservatives want Top GOP lawmaker questions tax break for wealthy in healthcare plan MORE (R-Ky.) is doubling down on his advice that states ignore the Obama administration’s climate rule for power plants.

McConnell sought to reassure governors in a letter Thursday that they would be on firm legal ground and not violating the law if they decline to formulate plans to implement the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) carbon limits.

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“The fact is, it is the EPA that is failing to comply with the law here,” McConnell wrote to the National Governors Association, adding that the EPA is going “far beyond its legal authority.”

The proposed rule would require states to use various measures, like improving the efficiency of power plants and reducing power demand, to meet individual emissions targets that the EPA calculated for each state.

But McConnell said the EPA is “overreaching” because it doesn’t have the authority under the Clean Air Act to force states to take most of those actions.

McConnell received backlash after telling states earlier this month to ignore the regulation, which the EPA plans to make final this summer.

Critics called the advice irresponsible and charged that states that follow it would get implementation plans imposed upon them by the EPA, and those plans could be worse than what the states write.

However, McConnell dismissed the concern in his letter, saying the EPA can’t legally impose most of its rule.

“In other words, the EPA is attempting to compel states to do more themselves than what the agency would be authorized to do on its own,” he wrote.