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Freedom Fridays

Shedding Light on Unconstitutional Federal Regulations

January 5, 2018 - Protecting American Energy Production


Freedom Fridays


What does this regulation do?

In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the Clean Power Plan (CPP), citing authority under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act (CAA).  The CPP was touted as an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants by 30 percent – ultimately lower than 2005 levels – by 2030. State environmental agencies would be forced to create plans to reach the EPA’s emission reduction standards. If the state fails to comply, EPA can establish a plan for them. Additionally, the rule provides excessive financial assistance to states to replace traditional energy sources with renewable energy sources.

Why is this a problem?

For starters, the CPP usurps states’ rights.  The EPA has no constitutional authority, or any authority under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act, to impose such strict measures on states and businesses.   The CPP was not truly about reducing emissions – carbon emissions have already dropped 10 percent since 2005 due to natural market changes. Rather, it was proposed as part of the Obama Administration’s war against coal.  The Obama Administration justified this rule by claiming that it was their “moral obligation.”  

Arizona depends on coal-fired power plants for part of its energy needs.  Many of these plants are already employing emission reduction efforts to conduct an environmentally sustainable operation. The CPP would require additional cuts on energy production by these power plants, jeopardizing Arizona’s energy supply, as many of these requirements are unrealistic.   Oftentimes this new technology too expensive to buy or provides inconsistent results.    

Additionally, the cost of the CPP is expected be outrageous. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Economic Research Associates estimate that the rule would cost the economy more than $50 billion a year and would lead to significantly higher energy prices.  These regulations place a substantial cost on energy producers with the consumers seeing little net benefit.   The CPP simply harms America’s economic growth, and provides uncertainty for Arizona’s energy consumers.

What am I doing about it? 

In February 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States put a stay on the CPP rule.  The decision suggests that the Court has concerns about the EPA’s interpretation of Section 111 of the CAA, and whether or not the EPA exceeded its authority by promulgating the CPP. 

In 2017, the Trump Administration – staying true to the President’s promise to revive America’s energy independence – issued a rule to repeal the Clean Power Plan.  In support of the notice of repeal, I submitted comments in the Federal Register discussing the CPP’s impact on Arizona, and why the Administration is right in fighting for America’s energy independence. If you would like to submit your own comments, you can do so here.

What they are saying?

“The Clean Power Plan is an enormous burden on the backs of Arizona utilities and consumers. I am concerned particularly for the rural utilities and consumers that would have seen a significant negative economic impact from the CPP. The threat of regulation alone had the potential to cost the state billions in stranded assets as our utilities made proactive changes. The CPP is a prime example of activist bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. making assumptions about state’s needs and undermining the individual authorities of states to best protect the interests of their citizens resulting in massive costs.” – Arizona Corporation Commissioner Andy Tobin


“EPA’s controversial ‘outside the fence line’ approach on the Clean Power Plan regulation would transform how electricity is produced, distributed, transmitted, and used in the United States. This regulation is costly, overreaching, and unworkable. The American Coal Council opposes it and supports its withdrawal. It would inappropriately place EPA in the role of energy regulator rather than environmental regulator. With nearly 51,000 MW of coal generating capacity already retired or converted as of the end of 2016 due to EPA policies, our nation cannot risk continuing such a policy-induced trend. Coal is an essential component of energy affordability, reliability and security for Americans.” – American Coal Council