Inhofe Calls on EPA to Clarify Remarks to Move Forward on Clean Power Plan Despite SCOTUS Ruling

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today sent a letter to Gina McCarthy, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), requesting clarification regarding comments coming from the EPA that it will “keep moving the Clean Power Plan forward” despite that the Supreme Court voted 5-4 on Feb. 9 to halt EPA’s implementation of CPP.  This is the first time the Supreme Court has issued a stay on a rule after one was denied by an appellate court.

“Since February 9, when the Supreme Court halted EPA’s implementation of the CPP, the agency’s public response to the decision has ranged between muddled reticence and outright defiance, leaving impacted stakeholders and resource-strapped States confused and in limbo. At a February 24 event, you stated, ‘I have every respect for the Supreme Court and their decision, and we will keep abiding by that faithfully, but we will keep moving the Clean Power Plan forward.’ [Emphasis added.] Days later, you declared that the Stay ‘didn’t mean that anything on the ground had really changed,’ adding that the CPP is ‘alive and well' and that 'life is continuing [in] the exact same direction it was before the Stay.’ Other reports indicate that EPA may not abide by compliance deadline tolling requirements that were part of the Stay request granted by the Supreme Court,” Inhofe said in the letter.

Inhofe continued, “Possibly you are attempting to intimidate States into continuing their planning process since the CPP is the mainstay of the Administration’s Paris COP21 promise; without the CPP, the President’s goal of reducing GHG emissions 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 is impossible to achieve. Current analysis of the Paris promise shows that 45 percent of the promised reductions are unaccounted for, so if the federal courts were to strike down the CPP, or if the next President were to decide not to implement the rule, the gap increases to 60 percent between Obama’s promise and what is actually achievable. Inevitably, this shortfall has prompted policy experts in India and China to question the commitment you put forward, which could justify other countries’ decision to further weaken their already less stringent commitments."

"I believe that you and the Administration are painfully aware of the challenges to fulfilling this pledge following the Supreme Court CPP stay. Regardless of this, EPA’s methods to intimidate and confuse states into continuing implementation are inappropriate.  The law, longstanding precedent, and EPA’s own words and actions support the tolling of all compliance deadlines as a result of the stay."

To read the full text of the letter, click here.