The Times West Virginian

Opinion

December 24, 2013

Should high curb curb EPA’s powers?

News and Sentinel, Parkersburg, W.Va., on high court should curb EPA’s powers:

West Virginia and Ohio are among nine states targeted by our neighbors to the north and east in another attempt to burden our people with higher electric bills and our industries with job-killing new regulations.

Here we go again.

West Virginia and Ohio, along with Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, have the misfortune of being upwind - at least during prevailing air currents - of several states that have complained for years about air pollution from our region. The states, whose officials have filed a petition demanding action by the Environmental Protection Agency, are Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.

They object to ozone pollution emitted from our states’ industries and motor vehicles. They want the EPA to require that industries in our states comply with new limits on ozone emissions.

That will appeal to the EPA, which tried by itself to do what the complaining states want. The agency attempted to establish a new cross-state air pollution rule which would have hit many industries - including coal-fired power plants.

But earlier this year, a federal judge came down hard on the EPA. He ruled the agency had exceeded its authority by attempting to impose “massive emissions reductions requirements” on our states.

The judge was absolutely right, but the EPA under President Barack Obama has made a habit of implementing new, draconian regulations aimed primarily at shutting down coal-fired power plants. Allowing the agency to continue that campaign would increase electric bills by hundreds of dollars a year in our states.

EPA officials and the complaining states hope the Supreme Court will overturn the lower court’s ruling on cross-state air pollution. That would be devastating to our region, in many ways.

Supreme Court justices have indicated they will consider the issue. They should do just that - and back up the lower court judge. The EPA under Obama has been, in effect, creating new laws on its own. The nation’s highest court was established more than two centuries ago to prevent just such abuses.

— The (Parkersburg) News and Sentinel

This editorial does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Times West Virginian editorial board.

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