BATON ROUGE – The Clean Power Plan, announced on Aug. 3, 2015, by President Obama and the EPA, has faced some heavy opposition from many state officials, including Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, who believes that the plan is injudicious and misguided.
“The Clean Power Plan was created without Congressional authority and in direct contradiction to statutory language,” he stated in a statement given to the Louisiana Record. “The Clean Power Plan is a purely political attempt to force states into green energy submission.”
Currently, the plan has been stayed by the Supreme Court and is pending judicial reviews. Under the stay, the EPA cannot enforce or enact any of the proposed regulations and rules until the legal challenges against it are resolved in court. The cases are now waiting to be heard before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
The final version of the Clean Power Plan relies on a federal and state partnership to reduce carbon pollution from what is considered to be the biggest sources of carbon output: power plants. It is considered to be one of the most ambitious climate-related policies undertaken by President Obama and the EPA. It also allegedly gives the EPA unprecedented legal authority.
That legal authority worries Landry, who believes that the plan gives the EPA too much of a reach with little oversight.
“By their own admission, the EPA said the Clean Power Plan is an attempt to aggressively transform the domestic energy industry,” he said. “The Clean Power Plan is another example of federal overreach and, just like other overly burdensome and extremely expensive Washington regulations, this unconstitutional EPA mandate is a job killer.”
The EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases came from a 2005 Supreme Court decision in Massachusetts v. EPA in which the Court decided that carbon dioxide and other green house gases are qualified as “pollutants” subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act. Under the language, the ruling gave the EPA the power to regulate green house gases. The plan requires that each state meet specific standards with respect to reduction of carbon emissions. The states are free to reduce emissions by various means, and must submit emissions reductions plans by September 2016. They can apply for extension, however; and then must submit their plan by September 2018. If a state has not submitted a plan by then, the EPA will then impose its own plan for that state.
By 2030, the EPA hopes to lower power plant carbon emission levels by 32 percent of what it was in 2005. The ultimate goal is to have emissions reduced to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
Landry, however, believes that carbon emission levels will not be the only thing affected.
“If enacted, the Clean Power Plan would cost billions to implement and would jeopardize Louisiana’s six coal-fired plants that generate over 6,000 megawatts of low-cost energy for our state," Landry said. "So I will continue to work with my fellow attorneys general from across the country to ensure Louisiana workers, job creators, and consumers are not burdened by this EPA overreach.”
Landry said that there are more than 29 states and state agencies that oppose the Clean Power Plan, and they are currently preparing their case in the appeal court.