In a front-page story from Friday's New York Times, reporter Coral Davenport describes Senator Mitch McConnell's efforts to side-step the EPA's regulations to reduce the amount of carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants, the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the country.
Despite having little power in his role as Senate Majority Leader to prevent the EPA from exercising its rule-making authority, Davenport writes that by appealing directly to statehouses and courtrooms, McConnell hopes to "ensure that the state plans [to reduce carbon emissions from caol] are tangled up in legal delays."
Northwest governors are likely to see tremendous pressure from McConnell's anti-EPA lobbying blitzkreig. Despite Governor Kitzhaber's declaration last year that it is "time once and for all to say no" to increased coal exports--followed by the state's denial of the Coyote Island coal terminal in Boardman--the subject of coal exports from Oregon is far from settled. McConnell's efforts may put renewed pressure on Governors Brown and Islee to allow terminals to be built on the Columbia River in St. Helens and Longview to erxport coal abroad to China and India.
Just one month since unexpectedly finding herself Oregon's governor, it will be interested to see how Kate Brown will respond to Mitch McConnell's bullying tactics regarding these EPA regulations. Considering the showdown that occurred in the debate to extend Oregon's "Clean Fuels" bill--and the upcoming clash that is sure to develop in response to proposed "Coal to Clean" legislation--will McConnell's efforts prove to be helpful in circumventing Oregon's efforts to reduce reliance on perhaps the cheapest (and dirtiest) fossil fuels?
By Kyle Curtis
March 20, 2015
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