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Tennessee Should Look to West Virginia on How to Bypass Harmful EPA Regulations
03/06/2015 at 08:56 am - David Williams

Environmental Protection Agency HQ (Washington, D.C.)

States are often burdened by the federal government with crippling regulations that usually come in any number of disguises, including public health and safety. Newly-proposed 111(d) regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding greenhouse gases from existing power plants are the new battleground for states’ rights.  The regulation would use the outdated Clean Air Act in order to force states into compliance with the new rules, in turn harming local economies through potential tax increases.  This has spurred action by state legislatures and governors who knew that if they didn’t act, these regulations could be damaging to taxpayers statewide. Last week, West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (D) showed his leadership by signing HB 2004, which would shift authority over submission of compliance plans with EPA regulations.  The legislation stated that, “The new bill, HB 2004, amends the existing law to make the DEP [Department of Environmental Protection], as a state agency, unable to submit the state's compliance plan to the EPA. Instead, the plan would first have to be submitted to the Legislature for approval.” Following in the footsteps of West Virginia, legislation introduced by Tennessee State Rep. Kelly Keisling (R), TN HB 0868, would ensure that any plans for compliance with the new EPA rules would be subject to approval of the state legislature. In short, Tennessee would have more authority on how they implement energy policy, not the EPA.

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