Thursday, June 26, 2014

Why Do 39 Legislators Hate the Bay?

A group of 39 lawmakers is urging a federal court to block EPA plan to clean up the Bay
A group of 39 lawmakers is urging a federal court to block the Obama administration’s plan to clean up the Chesapeake Bay watershed, describing it as an unjustified power grab.

The filing in the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia puts the lawmakers alongside 21 attorneys general who already oppose the cleanup, a case testing the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority under the Clean Water Act. The filing was submitted late last week.

Republican Sens. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and David Vitter of Louisiana, the ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, signed onto the opposition brief, as well as Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary and Rep. Frank Lucas of Oklahoma, chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture.

The filing comes after the court’s deadline for submitting legal papers in the case. But the lawmakers argue they have a special interest in weighing in, saying the EPA went too far in negotiating a 2010 agreement that sets pollution limits in the nation’s largest estuary.
Given the way the Supreme Court recently rolled over, and gave the EPA almost unlimited power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from industrial sources, I suspect this court filing is essentially a waste of toner. However, some year we may yet discover the downside of giving the EPA the power to regulate everything on the tenuous theory that everything affects the environment, and the EPA has jurisdiction over the environment.

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