(TNS) -- As the Environmental Protection Agency continues to exert regulatory pressure on West Virginia and other coal-producing states, elected officials here and elsewhere are putting some pressure of their own on the EPA.
The EPA’s Clean Power Plan, requiring states to cut emissions by 30 percent before 2030, is expected to be finalized later this summer. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey leads a coalition of some 15 states that have pledged to challenge the final rule in court.
And in the meantime, West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito and others are gearing up to fight the EPA on the legislative front. A U.S. Senate subcommittee chaired by Capito is considering a bill that would block the Clean Power Plan and make it much tougher for the EPA to create similar rules in the future.
The EPA is supposed to craft and implement regulations that effectuate laws passed by Congress. But many believe that things have become topsy-turvy in recent years, with the EPA churning out regulations that go far beyond anything Congress ever authorized.
Certainly, it’s hard to believe that Congress intended the Clean Air Act to encompass a set of regulations that will radically transform the American energy system, as the EPA’s Clean Power Plan would do.
“I can assure you that as long as I am majority leader of the Senate, this body will not sign off on any backdoor national energy tax,” Sen. Mitch McConnel, R-Ky., told EPA head Gina McCarthy earlier this spring.
If legislators believe the EPA has exceeded its authority, Congress is well within its rights to push back. The legislative branch has the power to override the EPA; it just has to summon the will to exercise it.
Capito’s bill would allow a state to opt out of the Clean Power Plan if its governor determined that the associated regulations would harm economic growth or raise electricity prices. It would also impose other requirements on the EPA, like requiring it to show the efficacy of new technology-based standards before implementing them.
West Virginia and other coal-producing states are already feeling the impact of the threatened regulations, with plant closures and layoffs. Capito and others are doing the right thing by pushing back against the agency and its Clean Power Plan power grab.
©2015 the Charleston Daily Mail (Charleston, W.Va.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.