West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton have sent a letter urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stop spending federal tax dollars to comply with the Clean Power Plan.
The state legal officials made their request in a May 16 letter addressed to EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation Janet McCabe.
“The entire point of the Supreme Court’s extraordinary action in putting a stop to the Power Plan was to preserve the status quo pending the outcome of the litigation,” Attorney General Morrisey wrote. “EPA should respect that action by leaving things the way they are until the courts have had their say.”
The letter responds to a request by 14 state environmental agency officials seeking additional information and technical assistance from the EPA related to the Clean Power Plan. The 14 states, however, had urged EPA to continue spending on “planning for compliance with the Clean Power Plan.”
Attorneys General Morrisey and Paxton ask that EPA decline the invitation to spend federal taxpayer dollars to aid compliance, specifically by discontinuing work on the Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP) and the non-final carbon trading rules.
In February, Attorneys General Morrisey and Paxton led 29 states and state agencies in winning an unprecedented stay from the U.S. Supreme Court, a decision that denies the EPA authority to enforce the rule and calls into serious question the rule’s legality. All compliance deadlines associated with the Clean Power Plan were also frozen.
The letter asserts that because the CEIP and the carbon trading rules have no legal significance without a legally operative Clean Power Plan, taking action on these issues calls into question the EPA’s commitment to the Supreme Court’s order.
Morrisey said that at minimum the EPA should reconsider spending scarce resources on a rule that the Supreme Court has indicated raises serious legal questions.
Several states have already “put their pencils down following the stay order,” the West Virginia and Texas AGs said in their letter to EPA.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently rescheduled oral arguments on the merits of the case until Sept. 27 before the full court as opposed to a three-judge panel.
“We welcome this unusual step by the full court, which confirms our long-held view that the Power Plan is an unprecedented and transformative rule of a kind the states have never seen from EPA,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “We look forward to presenting our arguments in September.”