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Advancing Utah's Energy Future

My view: The EPA’s clean power plan oversteps federal authority

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Terry Jarrett | Deseret News

The quest for cleaner energy is one of the great challenges of the 21st century, and has fueled many “green” initiatives in recent years. But something troubling is coming down the pike now that the Obama administration has announced its new Clean Power Plan (CPP). In a full-speed-ahead quest to lower carbon dioxide emissions from the nation’s power plants, the administration is implementing new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules that raise troubling legal issues.

For starters, the EPA, which has never previously demonstrated any expertise in regulating America’s vast power grid, will begin to shut down coal plants under a vague authority derived from the Clean Air Act. Essentially, coal, the most affordable and abundant fuel used to generate electricity in the U.S. — and which currently generates about 40 percent of the nation’s power supply — will be phased out in favor of higher priced and less reliable wind and solar.

The problem, as legal experts are now pointing out, is that the EPA plan oversteps federal authority. Harvard University constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe, who is generally a supporter of the president’s agenda, told Congress earlier this year that the plan exceeds the EPA’s authority under federal law. According to Tribe, the CPP makes states unacceptably subservient to Washington on energy and environmental matters because it “invades state regulatory control in an unprecedented manner” that “raises grave constitutional questions that the act must be construed to avoid.” (…)

For more, visit the Deseret News.