Texas Is Largest State Suing EPA Over Clean Power Plan
As promised, Texas is suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over President Obama’s plan to combat climate change, Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Friday, just after the new regulation had been finalized.
The state is suing as part of a bipartisan coalition of 24 states — including Missouri and Kentucky, which are led by Democrats — that will jointly request a stay on the plan Friday afternoon.
The regulation, known as the Clean Power Plan, requires states to cut carbon emissions by shifting from coal power to natural gas and renewables over the next 15 years.
Paxton has warned that the Clean Power Plan would dramatically inflate the cost of electricity for consumers and imperil the state's power grid, describing the regulation as a federal "power grab."
"It's a major threat to anyone who powers up a computer, turns on a light," the Republican said Friday morning during a call with reporters that was led by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
Morrisey said that the regulation is already having a devastating economic impact on his coal-producing state.
"Thousands and thousands of miners have lost their jobs," he said.
The coalition will argue that the EPA "cannot force the states to regulate where the EPA doesn’t have authority to regulate itself," Morrisey explained.
It filed a petition for review of the regulation Friday morning with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
“Petitioners will show that the final rule is in excess of the agency’s statutory authority, goes beyond the bounds set by the United States Constitution, and otherwise is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and not in accordance with law,” the petition says. "Accordingly, the petitioners ask the court to hold unlawful and set aside the rule, and to order other such relief as may be appropriate."
The attorneys general said they are hopeful that more states will join the coalition.
In a statement Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott — who, as Paxton’s predecessor, sued the EPA dozens of times himself — praised the challenge to the new regulation. He said "the federal government has yet again proven its readiness to sacrifice American jobs in the name of expanding bureaucratic authority and pushing its liberal agenda."
Friday's announcement came as the power plan — the final version of which was announced in August — was published in the federal register, the official journal of the federal government where proposed rules and public notices are posted.
West Virginia was among more than a dozen states that sued last year before the new regulation was finalized. However, a court denied its request for “extraordinary relief” in September.
Asked Friday why Texas wasn’t part of that initial group, Paxton said he wanted to wait until the regulation hit the register.
The other states in the coalition are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.