On numerous occasions Senator Mitchell McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, has attacked the upcoming Clean Power Plan regulations that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is scheduled to issue in June of this year. Most notably, on March 19, 2015, he sent a letter to the National Governors Association urging the governors of all fifty states not to prepare state plans in response to those regulations. In that letter he laid out what he termed his “serious legal and policy concerns” regarding the EPA proposal. The letter received wide publicity.
Daniel Selmi has written an essay analyzing legal statements made by Senator McConnell in his letter. The essay points out that the letter erroneously describes both EPA’s proposed regulations and the agency’s legal authority under the Clean Air Act. It examines how the letter does not fully delineate the consequences that will occur if states follow the letter’s advice and refuse to prepare plans that comply with the EPA regulations. Finally, the essay addresses claims in the letter regarding EPA’s ability to take control of state energy policy.
Professor Selmi is the Fritz B. Burns Professor of Real Property Law at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, and a Visiting Scholar at the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law.