Mike Pence Says Indiana Will Buck Obama’s EPA Climate Plan

The state won’t comply with the president’s carbon regulations, unless they are significantly changed.

Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) listens at the unvieling of the republican's Pledge to America at the Tart Lumber Company in Sterling, Virginia, September 23, 2010.
National Journal
Clare Foran
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Clare Foran
June 24, 2015, 8:32 a.m.

In­di­ana Gov. Mike Pence says his state won’t com­ply with the En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Agency’s ef­fort to curb car­bon di­ox­ide from power plants—un­less the ad­min­is­tra­tion dra­mat­ic­ally over­hauls its reg­u­la­tion.

Mike Pence sent a let­ter to the Pres­id­ent Obama on Wed­nes­day with that warn­ing, say­ing that un­less pro­posed EPA reg­u­la­tions for power plants are sig­ni­fic­antly “im­proved” be­fore the agency fi­nal­izes them, In­di­ana will buck the rule.

That de­clar­a­tion ar­rives on the heels of a ma­jor push from Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Mitch Mc­Con­nell ur­ging gov­ernors not to com­ply with the reg­u­la­tions, which stand at the heart of Obama’s ef­fort to tackle glob­al warm­ing and shore up a leg­acy on the en­vir­on­ment be­fore he leaves of­fice.

In his let­ter to the White House, Pence did not ex­pli­citly out­line what changes he hopes to see from EPA, but claimed that the reg­u­la­tion “fails to strike the prop­er bal­ance between the health of the en­vir­on­ment and the health of the eco­nomy,” and warned that it will drive up the cost of elec­tri­city.

“As Gov­ernor of In­di­ana, I am deeply con­cerned about the im­pacts of the Clean Power Plan on our state, es­pe­cially our job cre­at­ors, the poor, and the eld­erly who can­not af­ford more ex­pens­ive, less re­li­able en­ergy. I re­ject the Clean Power Plan and in­form you that ab­sent demon­strable and sig­ni­fic­ant im­prove­ment in the fi­nal rule, In­di­ana will not com­ply,” Pence wrote, adding that In­di­ana will “re­serve the right to use any leg­al means avail­able to block the rule from be­ing im­ple­men­ted.”

In­di­ana joined a co­ali­tion of states that sued the ad­min­is­tra­tion in a failed ef­fort to block the reg­u­la­tions be­fore they were made fi­nal.

And this is not the first in­stance when a Re­pub­lic­an gov­ernor has pushed back against the rule.

Ok­lahoma Gov. Mary Fal­l­in signed an ex­ec­ut­ive or­der block­ing her state from com­ply­ing with the power-plant reg­u­la­tions. Wis­con­sin Re­pub­lic­an Gov. Scott Walk­er, a 2016 pres­id­en­tial pro­spect, has also vowed to fight the reg­u­la­tions in court. 

But if states don’t com­ply, that’s not the end of the story.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion plans to re­lease a fed­er­al im­ple­ment­a­tion plan that will dir­ect states to achieve re­quired emis­sions cuts if they fail to sub­mit their own plans.

“Called for by Pres­id­ent Obama’s Cli­mate Ac­tion Plan, EPA’s ap­proach is built on a time-tested state-fed­er­al part­ner­ship in the Clean Air Act, which was es­tab­lished by Con­gress, for EPA to es­tab­lish pub­lic health goals and then gives states im­port­ant flex­ib­il­ity to design plans to meet their in­di­vidu­al and unique needs,” Melissa Har­ris­on, a spokes­wo­man for EPA, said in re­sponse to the let­ter.

This story has been up­dated.

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