James M. Inhofe


We are here today to talk with legal experts and Attorneys General about the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed CO2 regulations for existing power plants.  This proposal is another attempt by the Obama Administration to circumvent the role of Congress and achieve through regulatory fiat what the President could not achieve through legislation.


Congress has already been very clear in its opposition to a federally mandated emission reductions scheme when cap-and-trade legislation failed under a Democrat controlled Senate, yet the President is choosing to ignore the will of Congress and the American people by mandating this country’s energy system be restructured  in an unprecedented, likely illegal and economically damaging way.


It’s not just Republicans that disagree with the legal premise of the Clean Power Plan. The President’s own constitutional law professor, Lawrence Tribe, recently testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing  that his EPA was attempting an “unconstitutional trifecta usurping the prerogatives of the States, Congress and the Federal Courts – all at once.”


It is very telling when even legal and environmental experts that agree with the Administration’s overall objective, do not agree with the means by which they are attempting to achieve that objective.

The EPA, an agency of unelected bureaucrats, expects the States to cede authority over its intra-state energy systems, so that the EPA can then tell its citizens what type and how much energy they can use. This is counter to the purpose of the Clean Air Act and undermines the longstanding principle of cooperative federalism where the federal government is meant to work in partnership with the states to achieve environmental objectives.


This proposal is legally unsound, and comes with a $479 billion compliance costs, will result in double digit electricity price increases in 43 states and have negligible environmental benefits – environmental benefits the EPA did not even bother to measure and will be rendered pointless by one month of carbon emissions in China.


This is why 32 states oppose this rule and 12 have sued the EPA over this proposal. I am thankful that two of the states leading the charge against this rule – West Virginia and Oklahoma – are here to testify.


This is an unprecedented regulatory action where the agency is attempting to rewrite the law in a manner that Congress explicitly prohibited. Congress writes the laws and the agencies interpret them - even under President Obama.


I will not stand by and let the EPA force states to spend their resources in a manner that will harm local economies  and force their citizens to pay for the President’s misguided legacy.  Especially when it is not a matter of if the Clean Power Plan will be ruled illegal, but when.


I thank all the witnesses for being here and I look forward to their testimony.