Friday, June 28, 2013

AG Schmidt: EPA should not cave in to pressure for new regulations

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt last week asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reject negotiations with a group of states and environmental groups that have threatened to sue EPA over air quality regulations.

The move came as the Obama administration prepares a new regulatory initiative to restrict the use of coal to generate power in the United States.

“The ongoing regulatory assault on coal-generated power will be paid from Kansans’ pocketbooks,” Schmidt said. “It should be the people’s elected representatives in Congress, not federal bureaucrats, who strike the proper balance between environmental regulation and affordable electricity.”

Ten states and three environmental groups have accused EPA of failing to enact final standards of performance for greenhouse gas emissions from new electric utility generating units and are asking EPA to issue new emission guidelines for existing units.

Schmidt and 20 other state attorneys general wrote EPA and urged the agency to refuse to negotiate with such a small group on issues of air quality and regulatory policy that affect the entire country.

The letter asks EPA to continue its current, open policy-making approach to air quality issues, which allows input from all interested parties.

However, should EPA decide to negotiate with the complaining states and environmental groups, the 21 state attorneys general have asked to be notified and to be allowed to participate in the process.

“Environmental regulation and air quality are critically important to every state,” Schmidt said. “Every state, including Kansas, has a stake in the outcome of EPA’s regulatory decision making. This sue-and-settle strategy improperly bypasses Congress and excludes dissenting voices from the discussion.”

The letter also reminds EPA that individual states are responsible under the Clean Air Act for the development of certain standards of performance for existing sources of emissions.

The states joining Kansas in the letter to EPA include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.