Attorney General Patrick Morrisey Outlines Legal Objections To EPA’s Proposed Rule For Existing Power Plants

Updated 5 years ago From a News Release by WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey
CHARLESTON — Attorney General Patrick Morrisey  sent a detailed letter to the Environmental Protection Agency outlining numerous and very specific legal objections to its plan to regulate carbon dioxide emissions for existing power plants. Morrisey describes the plan as legally flawed and urges the EPA to immediately withdraw its proposal.

In the letter, Morrisey explained that the EPA admitted the proposed rule violates the “literal” terms of the Clean Air Act. The EPA attempted to justify this violation of the Clean Air Act by asserting that a clerical error Congress made when amending the Act in 1990 rendered the Act unclear, thereby permitting the agency to regulate. As Morrisey explained in the letter, “[i]t is simply unconscionable for EPA to go forward with this massive and costly regulation based entirely upon what it has admitted to be a clerical ‘drafting error.’”
The Clean Air Act explicitly prohibits EPA from regulating existing power plants under one section of the Act, namely Section 111(d), when it already decided to regulate those power plants under a different section. The EPA previously issued regulations under Section 112, which it estimates will cost power plants more than $9 billion dollars per year in order to comply.  As Morrisey explained in his letter, the law does not permit double regulation of these power plants.
“The EPA based its regulations upon what it admits is a clerical error, which does not even appear in the Clean Air Act,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “The proposed rule is yet another example of the President’s disregard for the rule of law. If the issue of climate change is to be addressed, it should be addressed by Congress. Yet, in its zeal to achieve what the President considers to be a ‘legacy issue,’ the EPA has ignored this most basic principle and has clearly violated the Clean Air Act.”
“Our Office is happy to assist the EPA in helping to achieve responsible environmental protection that does not destroy the livelihoods of thousands of West Virginians, and that comports with the rule of law,” Morrisey said. “But what the EPA cannot do is blatantly violate the law in order to achieve its policy goals. That is exactly what the agency is attempting to do here.”
To read a copy of the letter, go to
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