Conservative Coalition Urges State Officials to ‘Fiercely Resist’ EPA Rule

By Barbara Hollingsworth | December 5, 2014 | 4:38pm EST

(AP photo)

( – A coalition of 35 conservative and free market groups is urging state officials to “fiercely resist” the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) attempt to force them to implement “ruinous” new greenhouse gas emission rules that could double the current price of electricity or face harsh regulatory repercussions if they refuse.

“You should send a clear message to the federal government that if it insists on pursuing the regulatory equivalent of punitive energy taxes, it must promulgate and implement that policy itself -- and be held solely accountable for the disastrous consequences that will follow,” the coalition said a letter sent to governors, state attorneys general and state legislators earlier this week.

The coalition warned state officials that EPA’s Clean Power Plan will “destroy thousands of jobs and break the household budgets of millions of American families struggling to make ends meet -- even if states undertake their best efforts to blunt their impacts.”

“This is the so-called carbon pollution plan offered under the existing source performance standards for greenhouse gases under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.

"And what the administration did with these rules is essentially, they’re trying to coerce and draft the states into implementing policies that the EPA does not have the authority to implement themselves,” Phil Kerpen, president of American Commitment, which spearheaded the anti-EPA effort, explained to, which asked him what states can do to resist.

“Well, there are a number of things of active things that states can do to resist. But the most important thing is simply say ‘No. We will not do this. If you intend to destroy the electric power sector of our state, you’ll need to do it yourselves. We’re not going to do it for you.’

“I think that act of defiance is the most important thing, because EPA really has neither the policy tools nor the logistical capabilities to actually implement their desired policy, which is why they are trying to coerce states into doing it for them in the first place,” he said.

“It’s clear that the sorts of big-government, anti-energy policies are extremely unpopular with the public, and for that reason there’s no reason any state-level elected official should want to associate with them by complying with what EPA is asking for. I think the political environment and the [midterm] election confirmed what a bad idea it is to do this.”

“In general, we want states to make it very clear that they’re going to fight these rules every step of the way,” Kerpen added. “The whole EPA strategy is premised on their threat being credible, and that legislators will be scared that something worse will happen if they don’t go along.

"We’re trying to show them you don’t have to play that game, and there are a lot of conservatives out there who will have your back.”

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan is based on decades-old studies that have never been publicly released or subjected to independent verification and the work of a former EPA official who is now in federal prison, Kerpen pointed out.

“One interesting feature of this so-called Clean Power Plan is they claim $90 billion of benefits from this rule. Only about $30 billion of that comes from global warming. Of course, the real global warming benefit is zero because even if they reach their emissions targets, the rest of the world would make up for it in no time, so you’re not going to actually reduce global warming through any U.S. unilateral action. So those claims are specious.

“But the other $60 billion they claim is even more specious. They claim health benefits for reductions in small particulate matter. And it’s all based on two studies from the 1970s that they’ve cited over and over and over again, and the monetized value of the benefits from these two studies keeps going up and up in every single rule.

“And they’ve never disclosed any of the data underlying those studies. It’s total secret science, and in fact the first time they used this strategy of PM 2.5 benefits was on an ozone standard back in 1997.

"And the guy who came up with that strategy, a fellow named John Beale, who you might be aware is now in jail for fraud at Cumberland Correctional Facility because he decided a few years ago that he was going to start flying around the world pretending to be a CIA spy while he stole [close to] a million dollars.”

Former EPA official John Beale, who was convicted of fraud after pretending to be a CIA spy. (House Oversight Committee)

Kerpen compared the current battle to the previous fight over the Obamacare insurance exchanges.

“One of the examples we give in the letter is the similar dynamics of the health care fight from a couple of years ago. A lot of advocates of state health insurance exchanges kept telling state legislators: ‘Go ahead and pass a state exchange law because you can do it better than the feds.’

“And I don’t think there’s a single state that decided not to pass a health insurance exchange that regretted that decision. But a lot of the ones that did ended up putting their own fingerprints all over the Obamacare disaster, and a lot of people ruined their political careers doing that.”

The new EPA rule amounts to a “backdoor cap-and-trade” program, because any “inclusion in the state plans render those measures federally enforceable,” according to language EPA published in the Federal Register.

“The president himself, of course, famously described this cap-and- trade policy as a way to make electricity prices ‘necessarily skyrocket,’ so that’s the ultimate objective here. It’s not just 10, or 15, or 20 percent price increases but 50, or 100, or 200 percent. And it would really force people to use much less energy,” Kerpen told

“That’s part of what makes this so objectionable,” Kerpen added. “One of the president’s signature pieces of legislation barely got through the House back when Nancy Pelosi had a huge majority. And the Senate never even took it up because they were scared of the politics of spiking everyone’s electric bill.

“Now we’ve got a situation where the same Obama administration that couldn’t even get a 60 member Democratic Senate majority led by Harry Reid to take up this bill wants to coerce states into adopting cap-and-trade legislation. But no good comes from doing the EPA’s dirty work for them on the state level,” he added.

Kerpen pointed out that state resistance was not futile when the Obama administration was trying to get the states to set up their own health care exchanges.

“When the sort of parallel fight occurred over health care, nobody expected 35 states would end up saying ‘No thank you’ to implementing Obamacare and force the feds to do it. And that had a very powerful impact on the whole health care debate because the federal government was totally ill-equipped to do it, as we saw in that disastrous rollout.

“EPA can’t do cap-and-trade themselves,” he told “The actual policy tools at their disposal are considerably more limited than what they’re trying to tell the states to do.”

Kerpen added that it’s “stunning” that “this whole regulatory push runs counter to the biggest positive story in the U.S. economy for the last several years, which is the boom in fossil fuel production. The whole regulatory program of the EPA is designed to shut down energy production and use in this country at the same time we have Saudi Arabia trying to do exactly the same thing" because they fear the U.S. will become a major exporter of oil and gas.

“So the biggest enemies of fossil fuel energy right now are Saudi Arabia and the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency.”

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