A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

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Don't Mess With Texas

The Lone Star State's stand against the EPA

Editor's note: This version of the article corrects an earlier posting to clarify the policy that Russ Harding was calling for. The current language correctly states that Harding is recommending that states exercise their legal rights with regard to the EPA regulations discussed in the article.

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s senior environmental analyst says its time for states to "stand their ground" against what he calls the Environmental Protection Agency’s war on energy.

"It's not time for us to find common ground," said the Mackinac Center’s Russ Harding. "Michigan should not pass laws or administrative rules that would implement EPA regulations that would make energy more costly. If the feds want to do this, they can do it without Michigan's help." 

Harding is proposing that states take the same approach that Texas has over a recent EPA ruling. The EPA plans to impose standards on how much “harmful pollutants” new facilities can emit. The standards will be phased in from July 2011 through December 2012. The EPA claims fossil fuel power plants and petroleum refineries create 40 percent of the greenhouse gases in the United States. 

Unlike the EPA, Texas law does not consider greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide to be pollutants.

The Texas Attorney General took legal action challenging the federal government’s attempt to take over the state’s air permitting program. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is a Republican. Texas claims that the Obama Administration violated the Clean Air Act and the EPA’s own regulations.

Michael Maharrey, spokesman for the Tenth Amendment Center, said he knows of five other states that have proposed legislation resisting EPA regulations. They were Virginia, Arizona, Tennessee, Washington and Oklahoma. Maharrey said more states are expected to join the resistance.

Peter Glaser, a Washington D.C. energy and environmental law attorney, points out that business community studies estimate that losses in economic productivity if the EPA regulations take effect would rival Wall Street’s collapse in the fourth quarter of 2007.

 “The recent regulations issued by the EPA with no Congressional input has really made people sit up and take notice on this issue,” Maharrey wrote in an e-mail. “The success or failure will really rest upon whether a large number of states get on board. If we were to see, say, 20 or more states pass legislation, I think it would be very effective and ultimately back down the feds. As James Madison pointed out, a large number of states resisting and refusing to cooperate with an unpopular act gives them the power over the federal government. That's how the framers envisioned it.”

Glaser will be in Lansing to discuss this issue at a free luncheon on Friday.

Harding also believes if more states joined Texas, the EPA’s willingness to enforce its regulations would “collapse.”

“The feds don’t have the resources to do it,” Harding said. “It would overwhelm them."

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See also:

EPA’s War on Energy Luncheon

The EPA's War on Energy

The Economic Punishment Agency

Regulation Without Representation

"Green Energy" Subsidy Factory — not just Cap & Trade — the Real Test for GOP Energy Chair

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