The court not only found that the EPA overstepped its authority, but it completely struck down (“vacated”) the rule, instead of sending it back to the agency for revision.
That’s because the rule went far beyond what even the draconian Clean Air Act calls for.
“The flawed rule would have hit coal-fired electric plants in particular, and especially those based in Texas,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “EPA’s illegal micro-managing of state air-quality plans was so specific that immediately after the rule-making it was clear that coal-powered energy production at Texas-based plants operated by Luminant, a big utility, would have to be cut. Tuesday’s ruling means Luminant will be able to keep 1,300 megawatts of power online in Texas, which needs more electricity because unlike other parts of the U.S. in the Obama era it is growing. Luminant had announced it would need to lay off roughly 500 workers in mining and electricity production. Now the utility says those jobs have been spared, thanks to the court’s intervention.”
“Over the last four years, the EPA has run roughshod over state authority as if states were merely branch offices of the federal government,” says Kathleen Hartnett White, director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Armstrong Center for Energy & the Environment. “Amidst rapid growth of our population and economy, Texas’s record of continual air quality improvement demonstrates that the Flex Permits work far better than the EPA’s one-size-fits-all, top-down approach.”
The real issue for EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is that Congress refused President Barack Obama’s cap-and-trade scheme, so she’s attempting to accomplish the same ends through rule-making.
As the Journal points out, “Tuesday’s ruling underscores how much more damaging the EPA could be without re-election restraint in a second Obama term.”