JACKSON, Miss. (June 3, 2016) – The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality has put a pause on implementing the EPA “Clean Power Plan.” The move sets a precedent that state could ultimately use to permanently nullify the federal program in effect.
According to DEQ spokesman Robbie Wilbur, the agency will hold off implementing the plan until a final Supreme Court ruling on the program.
In February, the Supreme Court issued a stay on implementing the Clean Power Plan after 24 states sued to block the EPA plan. According to MississippiWatchdog.org, the EPA continues to move forward with implementation despite the stay.
“According to three members of House Energy and Commerce Committee — Chairman Fred Upton (R-Michigan), Energy and Power Subcommittee Chair Ed Whitfield (R-Kentucky), and Oversight and Investigations Chair Tim Murphy (R-Pennsylvania) — the EPA is already implementing parts of the plan despite the Supreme Court’s stay. The trio blasted the agency in a letter last week to Administrator Gina McCarthy, accusing the EPA of violating the stay by initiating regulatory processes that were ‘integrally related to the suspended rule’ that would compel states to respond and thus indirectly participate in implementation of the rule.”
The Mississippi DEQ’s refusal to implement sets a precedent the state should follow even if the Supreme Court ultimately approves the Clean Power Plan. The state has no obligation to implement the program. It should simply let the federal government try to implement and enforce the plan itself. Since the feds rely heavily on state cooperation, widespread noncompliance would likely nullify the EPA plan in effect.
In fact, that is exactly the strategy James Madison suggested to deal with “unwarrantable” federal acts – or even simply unpopular acts. He said “a refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union,” would create impediments and obstructions for the feds, and serve to check federal power.
The EPA has no constitutional authority to exist, much less regulate emission within the borders of a state. Even if the federal government was empowered to regulate air quality, (It isn’t) only Congress has the power to pass laws and make rules – not executive agencies. If the Supreme Court refuses to rein in EPA overreach (likely), state refusal to cooperate remains a viable option to stop the unconstitutional mandates in their tracks. If all 24 states party to the lawsuit simply refuse to cooperate with implementation and enforcement of the Clean Power Act, it would likely collapse.
Without state cooperation, there will be no Clean Power Plan.
Tenth Amendment Center
The Tenth Amendment Center is a national think tank that works to preserve and protect the principles of strictly limited government through information, education, and activism. The center serves as a forum for the study and exploration of state and individual sovereignty issues, focusing primarily on the decentralization of federal government power as required by the Constitution. For more information visit the Tenth Amendment Center Blog.