Energy & Environment

GOP: EPA is violating court hold on climate rule

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Top Republican lawmakers are accusing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of violating a Supreme Court order to stop enforcing its climate change rule for power plants.

In a Friday letter to the agency, leading members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee said the EPA’s actions since the February stay of the Clean Power Plan are contrary to the 5-4 order.

{mosads}Specifically, Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and two of his deputies say that the EPA’s action on related regulatory actions represents “a shadow regulatory structure” in contravention of the court’s stay.

“EPA has been expending resources on several regulatory processes that are integrally related to the suspended rule and that would compel states and regulated entities in turn to expend resources to respond to these proceedings — or otherwise forego legal rights — and, indirectly, participate in implementation of the stayed rule,” the lawmakers wrote in a Friday letter to EPA head Gina McCarthy.

They are referring to a series of regulatory actions the EPA has moved forward on. They include a program to incentivize state actions related to renewable energy and energy efficiency, model rules to implement the regulation in states that do not comply and the decision to not change the regulation’s deadlines if the Supreme Court’s stay is lifted.

The EPA has also continued to assist states that want to go ahead and comply with the rule despite the court’s prohibition.

“Continuing to develop a suite of derivative rules and guidance raises questions about whether EPA is complying fully with the court’s stay order, about what legal authority the agency has to proceed with such actions, about how these actions affect the equities of states and stakeholders, as well as about the agency’s stewardship and use of taxpayer resources,” they said.

EPA spokeswoman Liz Purchia said all of the agency’s actions are above board, and the agency will respond directly to the lawmakers.

“Many states and tribes have indicated that they plan to move forward voluntarily to work to cut carbon pollution from power plants and have asked the agency to continue providing support and developing tools that may support those efforts, including the [Clean Energy Incentive Program],” she said in a statement.

“Sending the proposal with details about the optional Clean Energy Incentive Program to the Office of Management and Budget for interagency review was a routine step and it is consistent with the Supreme Court stay of the Clean Power Plan,” Purchia continued.

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-Okla.) has also accused the EPA of violating the court stay, as have some Republican attorneys general challenging the rule.

Tags Clean Power Plan Climate change climate rule Environmental Protection Agency Gina McCarthy Jim Inhofe
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