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GOP leaders from 19 states ask Supreme Court to review power plant regulation ruling

GOP leaders from 19 states ask Supreme Court to review power plant regulation ruling
© Greg Nash

Republican attorneys general from 18 states and one Republican governor are asking the Supreme Court to review a lower court ruling that they argue gave the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) too much power to regulate emissions.  

Specifically, their petition claims that the ruling, which struck down the Trump administration’s rollback of an Obama-era power plant rule, gave the EPA the “power to reorder the utility power sector and mandate sweeping changes to any industry.”

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said in a statement that the high court should decide whether or not the EPA has “expansive authority.”

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“Any further delay will impose costs the energy sector can never recoup and force states to sink even more years and resources into an enterprise that is – at best – legally uncertain,” he said.

An EPA spokesperson declined to comment, saying the litigation is pending. 

In 2016, the Supreme Court stayed the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, blocking it from being effective, but ultimately did not end up ruling on it. 

It was replaced by the Trump administration’s Affordable Clean Energy rule, which gave states more time and authority to decide how to implement the best new technology to ease emissions from coal plants.

The decision that revoked the Trump rule ultimately gave the Biden administration an opportunity to carry out its own rulemaking process without having to undo the Trump administration’s rule.

In light of this, environmentalists argued Thursday that the states’ petition was baseless. 

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“There is no basis for Supreme Court review. There are no standards in effect right now, and the Biden administration has been clear that any future standards will start from a clean slate,” said a statement from General Counsel for Environmental Defense Fund Vickie Patton. 

“These state Attorneys General seem to be wasting taxpayer money just to attack our nation’s clean air laws,” Patton said. 

In addition to West Virginia, attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wyoming as well as Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) were part of the petition.