Friday, May 1, 2015
Executive Order Has Already Codified State’s Opposition to New EPA Carbon Mandates
OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today vetoed SB 676, a bill that requires the state of Oklahoma to develop a State Implementation Plan (SIP) to comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rules regarding carbon emissions. To read the veto message, click here.
Fallin said the bill – which has been described as an attempt to fight overbearing EPA regulations – inadvertently does the opposite, at great expense to the state.
SB 676 is designed as a counter to proposed EPA regulations that mandate a 30 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from power plants in each state. The EPA has asked each state to develop a SIP – a state-based plan for compliance.
Governor Mary Fallin, Attorney General Scott Pruitt, and many members of the Oklahoma Legislature have raised questions about the legality of the EPA’s new edicts. President Obama’s use of the Clean Air Act (section 111d) to justify the EPA’s proposed mandates has been widely criticized and will be challenged in court when the EPA formally publishes its rules.
SB 676 assumes the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will develop a SIP to comply with EPA rules. The bill then gives Attorney General Scott Pruitt an opportunity to reject that SIP if he finds it to be unconstitutional, which he has publicly indicated he is likely to do.
However, on Tuesday, April 28, Governor Fallin issued an executive order prohibiting the state of Oklahoma or its agencies from submitting a SIP. Her executive order noted the EPA’s proposed rules would have “disastrous consequences for families and businesses,” would replace Oklahoma’s authority with that of federal bureaucrats, and would be subject to legal challenge. It also requested that Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt “take such action as is necessary to enforce the rights of the State of Oklahoma and its citizens from such federal actions as may impact the freedoms of its people.”
Under Fallin’s executive order, the state remains unambiguously opposed to the development of a SIP and committed to fighting the EPA’s carbon emission mandates in court. SB 676, on the other hand, requires the DEQ to develop a SIP, under the assumption that the attorney general will then rule it unconstitutional.
As Fallin noted in her veto message, “the development of such a state plan involves dozens of state and private entities and thousands of hours of study and negotiations. It is a massive undertaking and requires the commitment of untold amounts of financial and time resources. It is also an unnecessary one, given that the Legislature, Attorney General and I are in agreement that the state should, in fact, not implement a SIP.”
Fallin says she understands the intent of the Legislature and the attorney general, who pushed for the bill.
“I stand with our Legislature and our attorney general in opposing the EPA’s unconstitutional and ill-conceived power-grab,” said Fallin. “However, we do not need to spend a lot of time and money to develop a plan that we have no intention of implementing and every intention of rejecting, which is what this bill requires. The executive order issued earlier this week offers the state the clearest path to fighting these EPA carbon mandates.”