Pollution and Politics

by Jackson Cooney

Republican senator, Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky has been pushing states to ignore President Obama’s global warming regulations. He argues that the administration’s anti-coal initiative aims to destroy America’s power generation under the pretense of protecting the climate. The EPA along with the President is requiring each state to submit a plan outlining how they are going to cut coal plant pollution. These plans will lead to the shutdown of hundreds of power plants in the Administration’s attempt to rely more heavily on renewable energy sources. As of now, 12 states have filed lawsuits in protest of this plan. However Senator McConnell has advised that the best way to fight this initiative would be to refuse to submit state plans.

Democrats seem confused by McConnell’s actions because, under the terms of the Clean Air Act, it is the job of the executive branch to deal with carbon pollution rules, not that of the legislative branch. Gina McCarthy, the administrator of the EPA, has been preparing a plan that could be applied to any state to deal with carbon pollution. This plan would be imposed on any state that fails to supply their own plan. This was the EPA’s response to Senator McConnell’s defiance. Because of this, the states that refuse to produce their own plan could be stuck with a stricter, generic plan created by the EPA.

As of now, it seems unlikely that Senator McConnell will be able to stop this process. If the Republicans in congress could pass legislation to weaken the rules required for each state, the President would veto. It is unlikely that the Republicans have two-thirds majority to override this veto. Because of this, the Obama administration is expecting a legal battle to ensue. The EPA has asked for $3.5 million dollars to pay for 20 lawyers to defend the regulations.


Davenport, C. (2015, March 4). McConnell Urges States to Defy U.S. Plan to Cut Greenhouse Gas. Retrieved March 8, 2015, from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/05/us/politics/mcconnell-urges-states-to-defy-us-plan-to-cut-greenhouse-gas.html?ref=topics


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