Almost half of U.S. states sued the federal government's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday due to the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan.
Out of the 50 U.S. states, a total of 24 filed lawsuits Friday against the EPA's new regulation that requires all states to cut their carbon emissions by using more renewable energy instead of hydrocarbon resources.
In August, President Obama announced his Clean Power Plan that aims to trim carbon emissions in the country by 32 percent until 2030.
However, opponents of the plan claim that EPA does not have the authority to interfere with state regulations.
The U.S. state West Virginia's Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said Friday "the Clean Power Plan unlawfully expands the federal government’s regulatory power over electricity production and consumption in nearly every state."
"The Clean Power Plan is one of the most far-reaching energy regulations in this nation’s history. EPA claims to have sweeping power to enact such regulations based on a rarely-used provision of the Clean Air Act but such legal authority simply does not exist," he explained in a statement.
The 24 U.S. states and institutions include West Virginia, Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, Wyoming, the Arizona Corporations Commission, and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.
In addition, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and other business groups in the country, filed separate lawsuits against the EPA as well.
"The EPA’s rule is unlawful and a bad deal for America. It will drive up electricity costs for businesses, consumers and families, impose tens of billions in annual compliance costs, and reduce our nation’s global competitiveness—without any significant reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions," Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the White House said the administration's position for clean power is based on science, and backed EPA's legal position.
"I am not surprised that our Republican critics have rushed to the courts to try and prevent something they weren't able to do legislatively," White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said, and added "Our critics show up on the floor of the U.S. Senate with snowballs."
"We believe that this approach has been shaped by data, shaped by science, and represents a balanced, pragmatic view of how to tackle this," he said.
Moreover, President Obama reiterated his firm stance on tackling climate change and using clean energy in his weekly address.
"We’ll keep doing what we can to prevent the worst effects of climate change before it’s too late. Over the past six years, we’ve led by example, generating more clean energy and lowering our carbon emissions. Some of our biggest companies made new commitments to act on climate – not just because it’s good for the planet, but because it’s good for their bottom line," he said.
"150 countries, representing over 85 percent of global emissions, have now laid out plans to reduce their levels of the harmful carbon pollution that warms our planet. And it gives us great momentum going into Paris this December, where the world needs to come together and build on these individual commitments with an ambitious, long-term agreement to protect this Earth for our kids," he added.
The UN Climate Change Summit (COP 21) in Paris aims to achieve a legally binding international agreement, although the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which tried to reduce greenhouse emissions, was not ratified by all governments throughout the world.
By Ovunc Kutlu