Friday, February 26, 2016

EPA critics tally complaints; Nev. joins fray

U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan not only violates the Constitution but also threatens local businesses and disproportionately harms minorities, critics of the rule told a federal court yesterday. Arguments from energy companies, business groups, members of Congress and, notably, the until-now neutral state of Nevada streamed in at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit as yesterday marked the deadline for friend-of-the-court and intervenor briefs against the landmark rule to cut carbon emissions from power plants. The parties were diverse, ranging from local chambers of commerce and civic groups to climate skeptics and coal companies. Members of Congress made a forceful foray into the sprawling litigation, with more than 200 lawmakers -- almost all Republicans -- arguing that the Clean Power Plan was designed to circumvent Capitol Hill...Other briefs yesterday focused on alleged harm certain groups would face across the country. A coalition of local chambers of commerce and business associations, for example, argued that the climate rule would keep state policymakers from designing programs that account for local economic concerns. "Instead of allowing States to implement and enforce performance-based standards for existing emissions sources, however, the Rule scraps Congress's design in favor of a centrally-designed, blunderbuss approach," the coalition said in an amicus brief. "In doing so, EPA has adopted a regulatory model that does not (and cannot) account for the unique circumstances that different communities throughout the nation confront." According to the Hispanic Leadership Fund, the Independent Women's Forum, the 60 Plus Association and other civic groups, those communities most negatively affected by the Clean Power Plan include women, minorities and seniors. "Middle- and high-income families may think little of paying more for power, because it makes up only a small portion of their overall budget," the groups said in a brief joined by Federalism in Action, the National Taxpayers Union and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance. "But many within the communities [we] represent pay an exorbitant portion of their earnings on electricity, sometimes topping 23 percent of after-tax income...more

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