February 23, 2016
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) today joined more than 200 of his colleagues in the House and Senate in filing an amicus brief in the case of State of West Virginia, et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency, et al. The brief supports petitions filed by 27 states, including Missouri, seeking to overturn the EPA’s final rule implementing the president’s so-called Clean Power Plan.
In the brief, the members argue that:
The Final Rule goes well beyond the clear statutory directive by, among other things, requiring States to submit, for approval, state or regional energy plans to meet EPA’s predetermined CO2mandates for their electricity sector. In reality, if Congress desired to give EPA sweeping authority to transform the nation’s electricity sector, Congress would have provided for that unprecedented power in detailed legislation. Indeed, when an agency seeks to make “decisions of vast ‘economic and political significance’” under a “long-extant statute,” it must point to a “clear” statement from Congress. Util. Air Regulatory Grp. v. EPA, 134 S. Ct. 2427, 2444 (2014) (quoting FDA v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., 529 U.S. 120, 160, 120 S. Ct. 1291, 1315 (2000)). EPA can point to no statement of congressional authorization for the Final Rule’s central features, precisely because there is none.
Nor has Congress authorized EPA to make the policy choices that are reflected in the Final Rule—a rule that imposes enormous costs on States and the public without achieving meaningful climate benefits. Because of the Final Rule, States will face unprecedented new regulatory burdens, electricity ratepayers will be subject to billions of dollars in compliance costs, and American workers and their families will experience the hardship of job losses due to power plant shutdowns, higher electricity prices, and overall diminishment of the nation’s global economic competitiveness. Choices of this nature are inherently Congressional decisions. See W. Minn. Mun. Power Agency v. Fed. Energy Regulatory Comm’n, 806 F.3d 588, 593 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (“Agencies are empowered to make policy only insofar as Congress expressly or impliedly delegates that power.”) (citing Util. Air Regulatory Grp., 134 S. Ct. at 2445 (2014)). Congress has not authorized EPA to make the central policy choices in the Final Rule and, in many respects, has affirmatively rejected those policies, as it certainly did with respect to cap-and-trade programs for CO2 emissions from power plants.
Accordingly, the Final Rule that has been properly stayed by the Supreme Court should now be vacated by this Court.
Thirty-nine lawsuits seeking review of the Final Rule have been consolidated in the D.C. Circuit. The Final Rule, which Blunt says “will deal a direct blow to low and middle-income families,” was stayed by the Supreme Court on February 9. The D.C. Circuit is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the consolidated cases on June 2.
In November of last year, Blunt cosponsored two Senate-passed resolutions that would have stopped the president’s so-called Clean Power Plan, which places costly, burdensome regulations on new and existing power plants. Missourians have historically relied on coal to power over 80 percent of our electricity and, as a result, enjoyed below average electricity rates in 2012. A study by Energy Venture Analysis on the effects of the CPP, as proposed, combined with several other EPA power plant regulations, found that Missourians’ annual electric and gas utility bills would cost around $1,000 more in 2020 as compared to 2012 – almost a 50 percent increase.
“The president’s so-called ‘Clean Power Plan’ amounts to more overreach, more price hikes, and more onerous burdens on the families that can least afford them,” Blunt said. “Anyone who goes to the grocery store, flips a light switch, harvests a crop, or goes to the doctor will be hit by the Obama energy regulations. For low- and middle-income families, the double-digit rate hikes could force them to forgo other priorities, like groceries or medical care, just to pay their utility bills. Energy-intensive industries, like manufacturing and agriculture, will be particularly hard hit, making it more difficult for them to create new, good-paying jobs for American workers.”