The White House defended President Obama’s so-called “Clean Power Plan” Friday after 25 states sued the administration in hopes of defeating the far-reaching energy regulations.
“We are confident that this plan is on strong legal footing,” said White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz, who called it “consistent” with the Clean Air Act.
“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.
Half of all states filed suit Friday to block the plan, which was published by the Environmental Protection Agency in the Federal Register earlier in the day.
“The Clean Power Plan is one of the most far-reaching energy regulations in this nation’s history,” said West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, a Republican. “West Virginia is proud to be leading the charge against this Administration’s blatant and unprecedented attack on coal.”
The litigation argues that the plan amounts to a federal takeover of state resource and energy policy by compelling a move away from coal.
“As attorney general, I have a responsibility to protect the lives of millions of working families, the elderly and the poor, from such illegal and unconscionable Federal Government actions,” Mr. Morrisey said. “It’s the people who can afford it least who are going to be affected the most.”
Mr. Schultz blamed Republicans for acting out of partisanship in opposition to the plan.
“I am not surprised that our Republican critics have rushed to the courts to try to prevent something they were not able to do legislatively,” he said. “That’s something they’ve shown an inclination to do on other issue areas, but we believe that this approach has been shaped by data, shaped by science and represents a balanced, pragmatic view of how to tackle this.”