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GOP ex-EPA heads back Obama in climate lawsuit

GOP ex-EPA heads back Obama in climate lawsuit

Two Republicans who headed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are backing the Obama administration’s climate change rule for power plants as it faces a federal court challenge.

William Ruckelshaus, who was the first EPA administrator under President Richard Nixon and later served in the same position under President Ronald Reagan; and William Reilly, who served under President George H.W. Bush, want to be able to file amicus briefs in the case.

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The two men support the climate rule, saying in October that “the rule is needed, and the courts we hope will recognize that it is on the right side of history.”

Twenty-seven states have joined energy companies, business groups and others in filing suit in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, saying the EPA’s carbon regulation is illegal under the Clean Air Act and unconstitutional.

Ruckelshaus and Reilly said they plan to argue that the Obama administration’s interpretation of the Clean Air Act is completely legal.

“As EPA administrators responsible for implementing federal environmental protection laws, both Ruckelshaus and Reilly repeatedly confronted the real-world challenges presented by statutory language enacted by a Congress that did not always fully anticipate either pollution’s adverse environmental consequences or the economic costs of its control,” they wrote to the court.

“They each responded to those challenges by adopting reasonable interpretations of statutory language that supported the exercise of agency authority in a manner that provided for cost-effective, flexible, and pragmatic approaches to pollution reduction that were also properly respectful of state sovereignty.”

Ruckelshaus and Reilly are being represented by Jody Freeman and Richard Lazarus, two Harvard Law School professors who have written and fought in support of the climate rule.