DENVER — A coalition of 24 states and a power company are suing to stop the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, calling it an unlawful federal bid to control state power grids.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on the same Friday that the Environmental Protection Agency published the plan, also known as the 111(d) rule, in the Federal Register.
“The EPA’s latest power grab — disguised as a ‘Clean Power Plan’ — takes already burdensome federal regulations a step further by driving up energy costs, stagnating job growth, threatening the reliability of our electric grid and treading all over the State of Texas’ sovereignty,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, said in a statement.
“With seemingly no concept of what it costs to support a family, start a business or save for retirement, the federal government has yet again proven its readiness to sacrifice American jobs in the name of expanding bureaucratic authority and pushing its liberal agenda,” Mr. Abbott said.
As part of the lawsuit, the states seek to place a hold on the Clean Power Plan’s deadlines for meeting its carbon emission goals, which supporters have described as necessary to improve air quality but foes have criticized as arbitrary and unrealistically strict.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, announced that he and Sen. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat, will file a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act in an effort to stop the agency’s rule against new coal-fired plants.
“Here’s what is lost in this administration’s crusade for ideological purity: the livelihoods of our coal miners and their families,” Mr. McConnell said. “Folks who haven’t done anything to deserve a ‘war’ being declared upon them.”
He said he plans to join another Congressional Review Act effort spearheaded by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, West Virginia Republican, and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota Democrat, against the plan’s limits on existing coal-fired plants.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy defended the Clean Power Plan in a Friday statement and predicted that the agency would “again prevail against these challenges.”
“The ‘Clean Power Plan’ has strong scientific and legal foundations, provides states with broad flexibilities to design and implement plans, and is clearly within EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act,” Ms. McCarthy said.
White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz called the regulations consistent with the Clean Air Act and said the Obama administration is “confident that this plan is on strong legal footing.”
“It also gives the states the flexibility they need to implement it, and it reflects unprecedented public engagement, and finally is responsive to all of the feedback we received from stakeholders during this very long engagement process,” he said.
Mr. Schultz blamed Republicans for acting out of partisanship in opposition to the plan.
A coalition of states attempted to challenge the rule before it was published, but the lawsuit was ruled premature.
Environmental groups defended the plan, a key piece of the Obama administration’s climate change agenda, saying the crackdown on coal emissions is needed to combat global warming.
“Global warming is here, and it’s affecting us now,” said Anna Aurilio, director of Environment America’s office in Washington
She said “2015 is almost certain to be the hottest year on record. Extreme storms have caused unusually large floods from South Carolina to Texas. California is still in the middle of a drought that is causing huge losses to agriculture and to the states’ forests. Today, North America braces for the landfall of Hurricane Patricia, called the strongest hurricane ever recorded.”
⦁ Dave Boyer contributed to this report.