States React to EPA Regulations
-Shraddha Chaudhary, III Year, B.A., LL.B. (Hons.)
On June 2nd, 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States of America had, on the instructions of President Obama, in pursuit of his climate change policy, came out with a set of regulations to control the level of carbon emission by existing coal plants. The Clean Power Plan draws authority from the Clean Air Act, and targets the highest emitters of carbon in the country, that is power plants. The plan aims to achieve the following by the year 2013 if the regulations are implemented:
· Cut carbon emission from the power sector by 30 percent nationwide below 2005 levels, which is equal to the emissions from powering more than half the homes in the United States for one year;
· Cut particle pollution, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide by more than 25 percent as a co-benefit;
· Avoid up to 6,600 premature deaths, up to 150,000 asthma attacks in children, and up to 490,000 missed work or school days—providing up to $93 billion in climate and public health benefits; and
· Shrink electricity bills roughly 8 percent by increasing energy efficiency and reducing demand in the electricity system.
However, the road ahead is not easy for the E.P.A., as 12 states have already come together, the most recent additions being Kentucky and West Virginia, to oppose the regulations based on the grounds that the E.P.A. is overstepping its authority in imposing them. The petitioning states claim, in short, that the regulations fall under the ambit of energy policy and not environmental policy, and the E.P.A. is not authorised to formulate energy policy. The primary opposition to the regulations is the short term economic cost that will have to be paid by the citizens of the country, and the overall short term and long term costs on businesses.
 Press Release, EPA Proposes Guidelines to Cut Carbon Emissions, Environmental Protection Agency (June 2nd, 2014), available at http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/bd4379a92ceceeac8525735900400c27/5bb6d20668b9a18485257ceb00490c98!OpenDocument.
 Ripon Advance Reports, Kelly Outlines Economic Impact of EPA Regulations on Coal Power Plants, The Ripon Advance (August 20th, 2014), available at http://riponadvance.com/news/kelly-outlines-economic-impact-epa-regulations-coal-power-plants/8753/
 Tanner Hesterberg, Kentucky Joins 11 Other States in Lawsuit Against Environmental Protection Agency, WYMT.TV Mountain News (September 4th, 2014), available at http://www.wkyt.com/wymt/home/headlines/Kentucky-joins-11-other-states-in-lawsuit-against-Environmental-Protection-Agency-273826591.html.