President Barack Obama is expected to release rules that will put a cap on carbon emissions from existing power plants on June 2. The rules will likely provide many contentious issues. One to keep an eye on is how states handle the rules as they will likely be tasked with developing and implementing programs that comply with EPA guidelines. Another potential issue is how far the rules actually go to cap the greenhouse gas emissions. Will the owners of the power plants keep them open, retrofit them or close them based on how far the emissions limits go.
Legal and congressional challenges will likely result from the release of the proposed rule. In January, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced a resolution attempting to use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to veto EPA’s proposed rule. McConnell attempted to argue that the rule was eligible for veto under the CRA because it “immediately changes the legal landscape for anyone seeking to develop a fossil fuel power plant.” The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently ruled that the CRA can’t be used in this fashion as it only applies to “final actions with certain and binding effect.” McConnell won’t stop there as his office issued a statement saying that he will continue his efforts to try to protect America from the President’s “War on Coal.”