Kentucky’s GOP Senate duo and other Republicans are urging the Supreme Court to scuttle EPA’s first greenhouse-gas permitting program for big pollution sources like power plants, refineries, and factories.
Seven lawmakers have filed a brief in support of industry groups, states, and conservative activists who are challenging the permitting rules. The Republican brief in the Supreme Court case argues that EPA, in rules completed during President Obama’s first term, claimed so much leeway under the Clean Air Act that it effectively usurped the power of Congress to write laws.
“The power asserted by the EPA here infringes on the constitutional prerogatives of Congress, undermines government accountability, and threatens liberty,” stated the brief filed by Sen. Rand Paul, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, and other lawmakers who oppose regulating greenhouse-gas emissions. The Court agreed in October to hear the case. The new brief, which opens another front in GOP attacks against climate regulations, arrives as McConnell is facing a primary challenge from his right and a potentially tough general-election battle next year.
Paul, meanwhile, is laying the groundwork for a potential presidential run.
The high court is reviewing a portion of a sweeping 2012 appellate ruling that upheld EPA’s first wave of climate regulations and authority to write future rules. The justices are reviewing whether EPA correctly determined that its regulation of carbon emissions from new motor vehicles triggered permitting requirements for stationary pollution sources.
They will hear oral arguments in February.
The GOP brief alleges EPA, in order to avoid permitting smaller emissions sources, overstepped its bounds by exempting all but big sources of greenhouse-gas emissions from Clean Air Act regulation. To get that done, EPA set the emissions level that triggers regulation of carbon dioxide at a far higher level than the Clean Air Act requires for other types of pollution.
The brief says, “EPA effectively amended specific, numerical permitting thresholds that Congress itself had unambiguously written into the Clean Air Act.”
“This the EPA cannot do. Our Constitution reserves the power to enact, amend, or repeal statutes to Congress alone,” the brief states.
The case is one of several climate-related legal battles that EPA will eventually face.
Separate plans to set carbon-emission standards for existing and future power plants, which are a pillar of Obama’s second-term climate agenda, are sure to face lawsuits when they are finalized.
What We're Following See More »
Special counsel Robert Mueller "is now demanding documents from the department overseeing his investigation." A source tells ABC News that "Mueller's investigators are keen to obtain emails related to the firing of FBI Director James Comey and the earlier decision of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the entire matter."
"President Donald Trump would not insist on including repeal of an Obama-era health insurance mandate in a bill intended to enact the biggest overhaul of the tax code since the 1980s, a senior White House aide said on Sunday. The version of tax legislation put forward by Senate Republican leaders would remove a requirement in former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law that taxes Americans who decline to buy health insurance."
"Members of Congress with histories of mistreating women should be extremely nervous. Major outlets, including CNN, are dedicating substantial newsroom resources to investigating sexual harassment allegations against numerous lawmakers. A Republican source told me he's gotten calls from well-known D.C. reporters who are gathering stories about sleazy members."
"Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who wrote the explosive dossier alleging ties between Donald Trump and Russia," says in a new book by The Guardian's Luke Harding that "Trump's land and hotel deals with Russians needed to be examined. ... Steele did not go into further detail, Harding said, but seemed to be referring to a 2008 home sale to the Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev. Richard Dearlove, who headed the UK foreign-intelligence unit MI6 between 1999 and 2004, said in April that Trump borrowed money from Russia for his business during the 2008 financial crisis."