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The proposed Environmental Protection Agency rule limiting carbon dioxide emissions from electricity-generating plants will, when finalized, put the responsibility for implementation on the states. The rule is designed to lop 30 percent off power plants CO2 emissions by 2030 compared with the 2005 base year. In reality, because of reductions from 2006-2013, half of that 30 percent goal has already been achieved, something that has spurred many environmental advocates to say the rule doesn't go nearly far enough, nor fast enough.
But while environmentalists prepare to urge a stricter rule during the 120-day public comment period EPA has established, there's a problem at the state level. As with so many state problems, this one has a foundation in the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council. In this case, ALEC is returning to its early 1970s origins as an implacable foe of the EPA.

As usual, as reported by Andrew Restuccia, in January ALEC produced model resolutions filled with ample boilerplate but designed specifically to block the imposition of EPA regulation of greenhouse gases at the state level, even though the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that such regulation isn't an agency option but rather its obligation under the Clean Air Act.

So far, state lawmakers have introduced ALEC-like resolutions in several states, at least eight of which have adopted them, including Kentucky, West Virginia and Kansas:

The resistance in state capitals is a pre-emptive strike for conservatives — and yet another sign that Obama’s opponents are plotting a long-term strategy to try to deny him and his liberal allies a long-sought victory on climate change.

If the anti-EPA trend catches fire, it would force the agency to write a greenhouse gas reduction plan for every state that refuses to submit its own. That would bring renewed accusations of federal overreach, mirroring what happened when HealthCare.gov wound up becoming the health care exchange for 36 states, and it would thwart EPA’s hopes of letting each state choose its own strategy for reducing power plants’ carbon pollution.

But environmental advocates are of two minds over whether this campaign is going to succeed. For one thing, the EPA did a good job of reaching out to the states in this matter before announcing its proposed rule. Bill Becker, executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, says the whole campaign is “a political stunt.” But others are not so sure:
John Eick, director of the ALEC Task Force on Energy, Environment and Agriculture, also sees a “good chance” that his group will issue model legislation on EPA’s power plant rule after its annual meeting this summer. “I think it’s very possible that we’ll probably put together even more language specifically targeting this regulation,” he said.
We'll soon see how many states climb on the bandwagon the way they got aboard the Obamacare attacks. The lawmaking dunces who write or copy legislation trying to evade limits on greenhouse gas emissions could very well find themselves getting exactly what it is they don't want: federal imposition of controls without any input from the states.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Thu Jun 05, 2014 at 12:07 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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