EPA Deemed ‘Rogue’ by Republican Urging Obama to Rein in Agency

Photograph by John Wright/The Paducah Sun/AP Photo

Rep. Ed Whitfield during the Rally for Coal at the River Discovery Center in downtown Paducah, Ky.

A Kentucky Republican says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has gone rogue, reviving his campaign to rein in the regulator.

Representative Ed Whitfield, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s panel on energy and power, quoted from court cases the EPA lost on its clean air and clean water rules, and a 2011 order by a judge who rejected the agency’s arguments as “horsefeathers!”

“I am deeply troubled by an agency operating outside of its legal authority,” Whitfield said in a letter dated today to President Barack Obama. The EPA is “a rogue agency that is making up authorities it does not legally possess in order to accomplish its policy goals.”

The EPA has become a favorite target of House Republicans, who have passed legislation to scuttle or postpone EPA regulations. Whitfield in July said the EPA’s rules to combat global warming were “considerably worse that the disease.”

In his letter to Obama, Whitfield cited excerpts from five court cases that struck down the EPA’s rules, or ordered the action to end delays in issuing a permit.

Whitfield cited the August decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington invalidating he EPA’s cross-state air pollution rule, saying the EPA “pursued its reading of the statutory text down the rabbit hole to a wonderland where EPA defines its target after the states’ chance to comply with the target has already passed.”

The lawmaker cited a federal judge’s March rejection of the EPA’s effort to invalidate Arch Coal Inc.’s Corps of Engineers permit for coal mining in West Virginia, saying “this is a stunning power for an agency to arrogate to itself when there is absolutely no mention of it in the statute.”

Whitfield quotes from a decision ordering the EPA to issue a permit for a planned California power plant, which had been pending since 2008. The judge rejected the agency’s efforts to suggest Congress’s intend was “somehow ambigious” and the court should defer to its intrepretation.  “Horsefeathers!” the judge responded.

“The EPA’s self-serving misinterpretation of Congress’s mandate is too clever by half, and an obvious effort to protect its regulatory process at the expense of Congress’s clean intention,” the judge wrote, cited in Whitfield’s letter. “Put simply, that dog won’t hunt.”


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