McConnell Tells States To Ignore Obama’s Climate Change Rule

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, following a Republican policy luncheon. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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WASHINGTON — In an unusual move, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is calling on states to ignore a directive from the Obama administration to cut greenhouse gas pollution from coal-fired power plants.

“[T]he fact is, it is the EPA that is failing to comply with the law here,” McConnell wrote in a Thursday letter to the National Governors Association, saying the administration’s proposed rule requiring states to cut emissions by making power plants more efficient goes “far beyond its legal authority.”

He assured governors that the EPA was “overreaching” and that they would be on firm legal footing by refusing to comply.

“This proposed plan is already on shake legal grounds, will be extremely burdensome and costly, and will not seriously address the global environmental concerns that are frequently raised to justify it,” he wrote.

Brian Deese, senior adviser to President Barack Obama, condemned McConnell’s move on Friday as out of bounds and vowed that the EPA wouldn’t be deterred in implementing the rule, which it said was justified under the Clean Air Act.

“What you have is the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, going way outside the bounds of the position he was elected to,” Deese said at a breakfast for reporters hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

He said McConnell should spend “less time trying to lecture states about what they should be doing” and “more time trying to actually get some constructive things in Congress — for example, he could confirm a highly qualified attorney who’s been sitting out there for [more than a hundred] days.”

The debate over coal and climate change is a deeply contentious issue between Obama, who is working to secure a robust environmental legacy with executive actions, and McConnell, who is protective of his state’s large coal industry.

Deese said the issue is an example of the White House taking affirmative steps to solve problems while Republicans respond with a “responsive, defensive posture.” He added, “this rule is grounded in allowing states flexibility to craft their own plans.”

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Notable Replies

  1. McConnell doesn’t care what happens to the environment. he’ll be long dead by the time earth becomes uninhabitable for humans. His ‘give me mine and everyone else can bugger off’ attitude is sickening.

  2. Meanwhile, conservative politicians even farther to the right call for Mitch McConnell’s resignation for appearing to acknowledge such a thing as “global environmental concerns.”

  3. Is there anything that republicans do that doesn’t come off as cartoonish evil villains twirling pointy mustaches?

  4. I read somewhere else that not only did Mitch write an op-ed urging states to ignore the new EPA rules, he is also providing what has been described as a well-researched legal argument that would enable them to do so.

    Apparently, President GW Bush’s former EPA Administrator, the Republican Christine Todd Whitman, also penned an op-ed in which she criticized Mitch for his stance.

    The ironic thing is the EPA rules provide flexibility to states to craft their own guidelines; if states do not do so, the federal government would impose their own guidelines on those states.

    It’s like when the Republicans rejected the House’s call in 2009 for a federal health exchange in favor of state exchanges that presumably would be more responsive to local needs. The Senate version of the ACA that passed included state exchanges with the proviso that if states did not establish their own exchange, the feds would – which is pretty much what happened in most Republican-led states…

  5. Now…you arrest the FIRST one who doesn’t follow the rule and along with him you arrest McConnell as an accessory.

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