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Attorney General Welcomes Supreme Court Ruling Against EPA

Ruling prevents EPA from adding small businesses into greenhouse gas agenda

June 24, 2014 (Anchorage, Alaska) - Attorney General Michael Geraghty applauded the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) attempt to overstep its statutory authority in regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In a sharply worded opinion, the Court ruled that the EPA cannot circumvent the legislative process by unilaterally extending its authority without any congressional action.

“How we as a nation deal with the global threat posed by GHG is a matter for our elected representatives,” Attorney General Geraghty said. “This case reaffirms the important principle that regulatory agencies like the EPA are not authorized to rewrite laws like the Clean Air Act to suit their purposes.”

The State of Alaska had joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Farm Bureau Federation in filing one of the six petitions for review that were ultimately granted by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court’s decision agrees with many of the points the State argued – in particular that the EPA cannot rewrite the statute through regulation.

The Supreme Court held that EPA acted unlawfully in rewriting the Clean Air Act to claim regulatory authority over millions of small entities based solely on GHG emissions. Under EPA’s so-called “Tailoring Rule,” “EPA asserts newfound authority to regulate millions of small sources - including retail stores, offices, apartment buildings, shopping centers, schools and churches - and to decide, on an ongoing basis and without regard for the thresholds prescribed by Congress, how many of those sources to regulate.” The decision, issued Monday in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, is a clear rebuke of EPA “laying claim to extravagant statutory power over the national economy.”

In rejecting EPA’s interpretation of the law, the court said “it would be patently unreasonable – not to say outrageous - for EPA to insist on seizing expansive power that it admits the statute is not designed to grant.” The court also observed that it was not “willing to stand on the dock and wave goodbye as EPA embarks on this multiyear voyage of discovery.”

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