GHG Daily Monitor Vol. 1 No. 219
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November 30, 2016

Johnson Asks EPA to Halt Implementation of Rule Already Stayed by Supreme Court

By Abby Harvey

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, has called on the Environmental Protection Agency to halt implementation of its Clean Power Plan, the implementation of which is already barred by the Supreme Court.

“Given the substantial likelihood that the EPA’s burdensome regulations will be overturned by the incoming Administration and the 115th Congress, I urge the EPA to acknowledge the reality of the situation and cease implementation of these regulations immediately to spare farmers and small businesses the avoidable financial costs and negative consequences of these rules,” says the letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy dated Nov. 22 but released Tuesday.

The Clean Power Plan, carbon emissions standards for existing coal-fired power plants, was stayed by the Supreme Court in February, preventing the EPA from implementing the rule pending a final court ruling on its legality. The EPA has not pursued any actions related to implementation of the Clean Power Plan since the high court’s ruling.

The rule is awaiting a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in a massive lawsuit filed by more than half the states and numerous stakeholders and trade organizations. The ruling is likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court, no matter which way the decision goes. With the election of Donald Trump as president, the rule’s future is somewhat foggy. Trump has pledged to overturn the plan.

“On November 8, the American people voiced their disapproval of the regulatory overreach of the Obama Administration and the nearly $2 trillion regulatory burden placed on the U.S. economy. The result is that the incoming Administration and the 115th Congress will likely re-examine and unwind burdensome regulations imposed by the current administration,” Johnson wrote.

Johnson’s office did not respond to requests for comment concerning what actions the senator would like EPA to discontinue absent any current implementation action.

Bush EPA Chief Warns Against Reg Roll Back

Trump might not be able to dump Environmental Protection Agency energy regulations as easily as he has suggested, former EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman said in an interview published Tuesday by the International Business Times. “[A]s far as the regulations go, if they’ve gone final, you can’t just do away with them. You have to go through a process in order to do that. If there are regulations that have been litigated and held up in the courts, that will make it more difficult to repeal them,” she said.

Whitman, who served as EPA administrator from 2001-2003 under President George W. Bush, said eliminating regulations might not be particularly smart for the incoming administration. “I understand the goal but you don’t want to do this kind of thing blindly because people do care about the quality of their environment,” she said. “I think that what so many people forget is that the EPA was established because the public wanted it.”

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