Gary Palmer: Clean power plan means “enormous harm” to U.S. economy

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U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer on Thursday cosigned a letter to the governors and attorneys general of all 50 states stridently opposing the Environmental Protection Agency’s new “Clean Power Plan,” which would shut down several coal-fired power plants among other changes to the nation’s energy regime.

Palmer, who was joined in his epistolary effort by Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, said in the letter the Obama administration’s new EPA regulations would do “enormous harm” to the domestic economy,

“The Clean Power Plan will do enormous harm to America’s economy, necessitating the loss of millions of jobs and substantially increasing household energy costs that disproportionately hurt low-income and fixed income families,” Palmer said. “The hope that the CPP will ‘trigger global action’ on climate change is an insufficient reason to damage the economic opportunities and future aspirations of millions of Americans.”

Palmer and Smith cited recent precedent on the U.S. Supreme Court, hinting that the judiciary may head off the Clean Power Plan before it is even enacted, making a 10th amendment-based “states’ rights” argument that the federal government cannot coerce states into drastic action without due consideration.

“The Supreme Court recently halted the EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), since it did not adequately consider the costs of the rule along with the benefits,” said Palmer. “Additionally, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has also enjoined the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. rule.  States are not required to help implement this onerous rule and they should not do so, at least until the rule’s legal future is decided, since they risk incurring billions in costs for a rule that may not survive legal scrutiny.”

Palmer and Smith urged the state executive branch leaders to extend the new rules’ implementation process by filing a State Implementation Plan, or SIP, after current legal challenges are exhausted.

“The Clean Air Act gives states the right to submit a SIP at any point in the process. We urge you not to move forward until after legitimate legal challenges to the Clean Power Plan have been resolved,” wrote the congressmen.

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