- On Monday, President Obama announced a new regulatory rule, known as the Clean Power Plan (CPP), to reduce carbon emissions from the nation’s power plants on a state-by-state phaseout over the next two decades.
- Under the initiative, states will need to submit unique implementation plans to the feds by summer 2016. Texas has been tasked figuring out how to curb its emissions at a 38.4% rate reduction.
- Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton pledged to sue the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) back in May over the proposed plan.
If the Republican leadership placed good public policy over bad politics, then it would begin full compliance with the Clean Power Plan, a federal initiative to curb carbon emissions at power plants across the country. Instead, Texas is going to sue the EPA in a vain effort to kill the CPP in a short-sighted political game that legal experts note will likely fail in the courts.
Although Texas is going to stick to its guns and refuse to comply, there is still an opportunity for the state to, at the very least, prepare for compliance. While a pending lawsuit makes its way through the courts, Texas needs to begin drafts of an implementation plan.
In May, the House Committee on Environmental Regulation briefly debated the state’s role in preparing for the CPP. It had an opportunity to proactively afford the Public Utility Commission, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and other relevant state agencies the flexibility to prepare for the CPP rollout. Instead, the committee opted to stay mum on the matter.
Now, Governor Abbott and General Paxton have placed themselves into political box:
Texas can play its bad politics and sue the EPA… and forego any preparation in case the state loses its suit.
or Texas can still play its bad politics and sue the EPA… but at least have an implementation plan ready as a state-driven backup.
If Texas does not have a prepared implementation plan and lose in court, then we’ll will be caught with our pants down. At that point, the EPA will likely invoke its authority to dictate how the Lone Star State reduces its emissions. This means Texas Republicans would be responsible for spurring a plan crafted by DC bureaucrats, rather than state leaders. This means additional delays in cleaning up our air and building up our economy.
Texas has a lousy track record of suing the Obama administration, especially the EPA. We simply can’t afford to play chicken with the EPA on this one.