Monday, June 23, 2014

AG Schmidt: Supreme Court decision an ‘important victory’ in Kansas’ fight against federal overregulation

TOPEKA, KAN. – The U.S. Supreme Court today sided with Kansas and blocked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from proceeding with illegal greenhouse gas regulations, Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced.

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court held that EPA exceeded the statutory authority that Congress gave it. Kansas argued that EPA tried to shoehorn regulation of greenhouse gases into parts of the Clean Air Act that were not meant to regulate greenhouse gases.

The Supreme Court agreed, stating that it was “patently unreasonable—not to say outrageous—for EPA to insist on seizing expansive power that it admits the statute is not designed to grant.”

“This is an important victory for Kansas jobs, our state’s economy, and the rule of law,” Schmidt said. “The bottom line is that EPA cannot rewrite federal statutes to pursue a regulatory agenda that is beyond its statutory authority.”

Schmidt led a group of six states in support of the Texas-led legal challenge to the EPA regulations. The Kansas support was filed with the Supreme Court in December 2013.

“This ruling is about basic civics: Those who seek additional government controls on greenhouse gases need to engage the United States Congress, where issues like these can be fully debated—not bypass Congress and attempt to stretch existing laws beyond all recognition,” Schmidt said. “To ensure that any regulatory action EPA pursues stays within the law, Kansas stands ready and willing to challenge any regulation that exceeds EPA’s authority.”

The proposed EPA rule had been expected to cost billions of dollars in administrative and permitting costs, which in turn would have driven up electric rates for consumers. The regulations could have eventually required stationary sources such as Kansas schools, churches, shopping centers and small businesses to get expensive greenhouse gas permits.

The case is Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, No. 12-1146, which was consolidated with Texas v. EPA, No. 12-1269 and four other cases.