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Inhofe Statement on the Legal Implications of the Clean Power Plan


WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today released the following statement following the EPW Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee hearing chaired by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va):


“I applaud Sen. Shelley Moore Capito for holding a timely hearing on the legal implications of the president’s climate regulations. Today, we heard from legal experts who reminded us that EPA can only exercise the authority that Congress gives them.  However, with the Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration is trying to go far beyond the limits of the Clean Air Act by claiming economy-wide authority to reduce air emissions.  


“According to former EPA General Counsel Roger Martella this ‘enormous expansion of EPA authority’ would ‘forever elevate EPA’s role to be the nation’s most powerful regulator of energy at both the federal and state levels.’  As Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt stated, ‘EPA’s approach converts the obscure, little-used Section 111(d) into a general enabling act, giving EPA power over the entire grid from generation to light switch.’  As West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrissey pointed out, ‘EPA’s claim here is analogous to the agency asserting that its authority to regulate automobile emissions gives it the power to order citizens to take the bus to work and to buy more electric cars, on the theory that such measures would reduce car emissions.’


“It is clear to me that the Clean Power Plan will not be upheld by the courts.  However, we also learned that by the time the courts vacate this rule, thousands of jobs will be lost and hundreds of millions of dollars will be spent, imposing irreparable harm on states and the American people.  I am committed to working with Sen. Capito and doing everything in this committee’s power to prevent these regulations from moving forward.”