Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) won another six-year term last November by professing his love for coal. He actively attacked his Democratic opponent, Alison Grimes, as being part of President Obama’s “war on coal” because of Grimes support for alternative energy program. It shouldn’t of surprised anyone when McConnell came up to bat for the coal industry this week when he penned a letter to all fifty governors with the advice that they should ignore the Obama administration’s climate rules for power plants.
McConnell in the letter stated that governors would be on firm legal ground and not breaking any laws if they declined to implement plans that would lower carbon emissions. Wrote McConnell, “The fact is, it is the EPA that is failing to comply with the law here,”. He argues that the EPA is going far beyond its legal authority and hence the rule should not be followed by state governors. Mitch also states that the EPA doesn’t have the authority under the Clean Air Act to force states to take these actions.
The proposed EPA law would require states to use various measures, like improving the efficiency of power plants and reducing power demand, to meet emissions targets that the EPA targets for each state.
Already a few governors are pushing back against Mitch McConnell’s letter. Democratic Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin made his feelings clear in response to McConnell. “I disagree. Climate change is real. It’s a threat to humanity. We should be working harder to address it, not rolling back efforts to do so.” New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan, also a Democrat, also responded to Mitch. “”I respectfully disagree with your letter and would ask that states in the Midwest (and Kentucky) follow the science and take a more active effort in reducing harmful emissions, including CO2 emissions — particularly emissions generated through coal-fired power plants.”
Republican Governor Rick Scott voiced his support for McConnell’s plan and has joined a lawsuit against the EPA over the rule. “If enacted, the EPA’s Clean Power Plan would be a blow to Wisconsin residents and business owners, and I join business leaders, elected officials, and industry representatives in opposing this plan.”