August 25, 2015

Constitutional outrages and power outages

By Constitutional outrages and power outages

Those are EPA’s gifts to the nation under the so-called Clean Power Plan.  On August 3rd, EPA unveiled the Plan as a set of Clean Air Act regulations.  Among other things, the Clean Power Plan dictates the mix of fuels that may be used to generate electricity throughout the nation, heavily favoring solar and wind over coal and natural gas, thereby furthering EPA’s goal of saving the planet from carbon dioxide.  The power grid will come under enormous pressure if and when the Clean Power Plan is implemented.  Power outages and substantial increases in electricity costs are virtually guaranteed.  Moreover, the Clean Power Plan is unconstitutional.

For decades, there has been a “bright line” divide between federal authority over wholesale sales of electricity in interstate commerce and state authority over planning, siting, and providing generation resources to local customers.  According to the Supreme Court, the 10th Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits the federal government from disrupting that traditional constitutional balance between state and federal authority unless it is “abundantly clear” that a federal statute “compels” the intrusion into state sovereignty.  Here, just the reverse is true,  It is “abundantly clear” that the Clean Air Act does not give EPA the authority to dictate to the states the specific way in which electricity must be generated within their borders.  Federalism is a central component of our constitutional system of government, and the Clean Power Plan ignores it.  Look for legal challenges from states (and others) against this federal attack on the 10th Amendment.

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