By Jack Bondon
This spring, the United States Supreme Court took the step of granting a request to stay Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan. The stay indicates that the Supreme Court has serious reservations about the legality of the Clean Power Plan and was the right move to protect states’ rights in this sweeping move by the federal government to take over the power grid.
The stay halts the EPA’s implementation of the Clean Power Plan and provides the relief that states seek in order to avoid irreparable harm while the Clean Power Plan is being reviewed. The stay will remain in effect while the courts determine whether the Clean Power Plan’s legality. In the meantime, states are no longer required to take any steps to implement the Clean Power Plan. Regardless of the outcome, the State of Missouri should not proceed until this case is settled.
In light of the Supreme Court stay, I’ve asked Governor Nixon to inform the public whether the Missouri Department of Natural Resources intends to take any steps related to implementing the Clean Power Plan while the stay is in effect. If the Department of Natural Resources intends to take any such steps, I’m asking the administration to provide clarity into those steps and the level of resources (both staff time and budget expenditures) that will be necessary. As the Governor must be aware, this year’s FY2017 budget will contain no appropriated monies for the implementation of this plan, we intend for the pause on funding for compliance activities to remain halted until this case is resolved.
Missouri is under no obligation to take steps to implement a rule that many legal experts believe will be struck down by the courts. In fact, to show the bipartisan nature of Missouri’s opposition to this federal overreach, our own Missouri Attorney General Koster joined 26 other states in the lawsuit against the EPA. Furthermore, even if the Clean Power Plan is eventually upheld, the implementation deadlines will almost certainly be extended — perhaps by two years or more — giving states ample time to develop implementation plans. Therefore, I cannot think of a convincing reason for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to spend taxpayer dollars by devoting any more of our state’s limited resources to implement the Clean Power Plan. Hopefully we never will.
State Representative Jack Bondon represents Missouri’s 56th District and is a member of the House Committee on Energy and the Environment.