Conservative State Lawmakers Working to Turn Proposed EPA Rules into another Obamacare-like Debacle


The newly proposed Environmental Protection Agency rules endorsed by President Obama to cut greenhouse gas emissions may be setting the stage for another Obamacare-like showdown with the states.

POLITICO reports that a handful of Republican-controlled state legislatures are considering laws that would prevent their states from coming up with a plan to comply with the potential EPA requirements, thus forcing bureaucrats in faraway Washington D.C. to impose job-killing environmental regulations on the state.

Lawmakers in 36 states used the same basic idea when they voted against setting up an Obamacare-required health insurance “exchange,” a move that forced the federal government to implement its own hated health care law.

The thinking now is that voters will be so angry over another instance of federal overreach that it’ll bolster Republicans’ political strength to roll back the onerous EPA regulations.

It’s a clever chess-like move to counter the EPA’s equally clever move of setting clean air goals – which have yet to be finalized – allowing each state the flexibility of deciding how to meet the federal rules. The EPA wants to give state leaders just enough control to trick them into believing they “own” the process.

Leaders of coal-dependent Kentucky aren’t fooled by this, and are leading the fight against the EPA. (Note: Coal is Enemy Number One within the EPA.)

POLITICO reports, “Both chambers of the (Kentucky) Legislature unanimously passed a law restricting the kinds of carbon cuts the state could adopt and explicitly telling the state to consider adopting carbon standards less stringent than the federal rule demands. Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear signed it in April.”

“We’re going to fight very, very hard to make sure this thing doesn’t go into compliance,” said Republican state Sen. Brandon Smith.

Lawmakers in West Virginia, Kansas, Ohio, Louisiana and Missouri have either taken similar action or are considering doing so. That number could increase when the American Legislative Exchange Council – a so-called “conservative bill mill” – creates sample legislation for interested state legislators to consider.

Federal bureaucrats think this opposition movement will peter out once business and industry leaders realize that leaving environmental enforcement up to the EPA – instead of state officials – will be much more problematic for them.

“The fact of the matter is that regulated entities would rather deal with the states than EPA,” Adam Kushner, a former EPA official, told POLITICO. “There’s going to be a lot of pressure on state legislators to leave well enough alone.”

Maybe, maybe not.

It may be difficult for the progressives to understand, but there are still a few Americans who believe in federalism – the idea that states created the federal government, not the other way around. These Americans believe states should be allowed to manage their own affairs, rather than just serving as administrative units of the federal government.

Like so much of what the Obama administration has done, the proposed EPA regulations make a mockery of federalism. We don’t doubt that conservatives are serious about pushing back against our D.C. overlords.

The real question is whether or not their efforts are “too little, too late.”


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