KNIGHT: Taming the EPA monster

Supreme Court ruling strikes a blow in ongoing battle

“In Florida, a state with one of the most aggressive and innovative water-quality-protection programs in the country, the EPA chose to impose its own costly, unprecedented and unscientific numeric nutrient criteria,” the attorneys general’s statement says. “The estimated impact the EPA’s rules would impose was dramatic, including billions of dollars in compliance costs, significant spikes in utility bills and the loss of thousands of jobs. The Florida Attorney General’s Office sued the EPA and two weeks ago prevailed when a federal judge in Tallahassee threw out the costliest of the EPA’s rules, the one governing Florida’s streams and rivers. In doing so, the judge found the EPA’s rules were not based on sound science.

“In Oklahoma, the EPA illegally usurped Oklahoma’s authority in the Clean Air Act to determine the state’s own plan for addressing sources of emissions by imposing a federal implementation plan. The federal plan goes beyond the authority granted to the EPA in the Clean Air Act and will result in a $2 billion cost to install technology needed to complete the EPA plan and a permanent increase of 15-20 percent in the cost of electricity. The Obama Administration is fighting Oklahoma’s appeal, which was filed in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.”

Texas has filed a lawsuit challenging the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. The attorneys general note that the EPA’s order was “particularly dubious because the state was included in the regulation at the last minute and without an opportunity to respond to the proposed regulation” and “was based on a dubious claim that air pollution from Texas affected a single air-quality monitor in Granite City, Illinois, more than 500 miles and three states away from Texas.”

As Congress sharpens its budget knife, the EPA monster, which started out as a well-meaning bloke but grew into a bullying monster, may find that overstepping its power is hazardous to its own health.

Robert Knight is a senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a columnist for The Washington Times.

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