Environmentalist lawyers have been pushing a legal theory that would give the Environmental Protection Agency cover to regulate every facet of state energy policy — effectively eliminating state’s authority to craft their own regulations.
“Buried in the Clean Air Act is an extremely powerful mechanism that effectively gives EPA carte blanche to tell states to make drastic cuts to their emissions,”Brian Potts, a partner at the law firm Foley & Lardner wrote in Politico Monday.
“This provision, which can now be used thanks to the completion of the Paris climate deal, raises important questions about national sovereignty and states’ rights — questions that Republicans would undoubtedly use to try and kill such a proposal,” Potts wrote. “But the benefits of using this mechanism dwarf those concerns.”
Potts is referring to Section 115 of the Clean Air Act. Liberal legal scholars argue the Paris global warming treaty has triggered this little-known provision of federal law, and now the EPA can launch a full takeover of states’ environmental regulatory agendas.
“Section 115 of the Clean Air Act provides an untapped but potent opportunity for achieving many of the United States’ long-term climate change goals,” 13 liberal legal experts wrote in a January brief published by the Institute for Policy Integrity.