Attorney General, coalition of states announce plan to ask federal court to vacate EPA rule

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AL AG Luther Strange

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange announced over the weekend he would join a group of mostly Republican states to ask a federal court permanently nix Environmental Protection Agency-proposed carbon rules which recently had a setback in the U.S. Supreme Court.

The EPA proposal – dubbed the Clean Power Plan – seeks to reduce carbon emissions by reining in or closing many coal-fired power plants that emit carbon pollution. Strange and a coalition of other state attorneys general filed litigation on Friday that would “go ahead and rule against the plan” now that the Supreme Court has issued a stay against it, holding up progress until further review.

“Ten days after winning a stay in the United States Supreme Court of President Obama’s so-called Clean Power Plan, Alabama and a majority of U.S. states are asking the U.S. Circuit Court in Washington, D.C. to permanently vacate the Obama administration’s illegal carbon rule, once and for all,” said Strange, who has long opposed the carbon emissions plan.

Strange explained his rationale for filing the claim in a statement Sunday afternoon, calling the environmental agency’s proposal a “power grab” by the federal government.

“The EPA not only goes too far in seeking to impose arbitrary and overly restrictive limitations on carbon dioxide emissions, but it does so with the goal of changing America’s energy sources. The EPA’s costly carbon rule is little more than a power grab and just the latest in a long list of Obama administration attempts to end-run Congress,” Strange said.

The case is now in the hands of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which will issue a ruling on the merits of the case. Oral arguments are set to begin in June after the court reviews the litigation.

“Relying on an obscure provision of the Clean Air Act, EPA’s Rule seeks to effect an ‘aggressive transformation’ of the mix of electricity generation in nearly every State by systematically ‘decarbonizing’ power generation and ushering in a new ‘clean energy’ economy,” the case filed Friday reads.

“Although Congress has debated a number of bills designed to achieve that very result, it has not yet adopted any such legislation. Frustrated with Congress, EPA now purports to have discovered sweeping authority in Clean Air Act section 111(d)—a provision that has been used only five times in 45 years—to issue a ‘Power Plan’  that forces States to fundamentally reorganize electricity generation throughout the country.”

Strange is not alone among Alabama leaders in opposing the plan. U.S. Reps. Martha Roby and Gary Palmer have derided the plan as a job killer that could cause “enormous harm” to the American economy.

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