Jan 13, 2014 - 5:45pm

Hill Zeroes in On Climate Action Plan Challenged by Chambers


Vice President, Policy, U.S. Chamber Global Energy Institute

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U.S. Capitol Dome
U.S. Capitol Dome
Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg.

Last summer, President Obama unveiled his Climate Action Plan, an aggressive, regulatory-focused agenda to control greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from industry.  Both houses of Congress will take up aspects of the plan as they return to work this week: the House in an Energy and Commerce Committee markup of legislation addressing power plant regulations, and the Senate in a Thursday Environment and Public Works Committee hearing reviewing the overall plan.

At the center of the President’s agenda are a series of Environmental Protection Agency regulations that threaten to be among the most costly in the history of the agency. The events on Capitol Hill should pay close mind to the potentially devastating economic impact of these rulemakings—and how it can be avoided. 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been leading the fight against these rules, challenging the manner in which EPA has pursued them under the Clean Air Act.  The good news is that the Supreme Court has indicated it agrees with the concerns of the business community: in February, the court will hear oral arguments in a legal challenge brought by the Chamber and numerous other organizations.  A decision is expected in June.

In support of the case, over 75 state and local chambers of commerce recently filed a brief with the Supreme Court emphasizing the widespread economic threat posed by EPA’s greenhouse gas regulatory objectives. The filing notes that increased energy costs resulting from regulations on power plants are “a direct and significant impact placed on all sectors of the American economy” and that “every source of GHG, no matter how inconsequential its emissions may be, is within EPA’s regulatory reach and grasp.”

In support of the amicus brief, Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar said that “smart, necessary regulation by the EPA makes sense, but once again the EPA – under President Obama’s tenure – has stretched the boundary of its authority. The Clean Air Act was never designed to regulate greenhouse gases. Hopefully, the Supreme Court will act to rein in the EPA before its overreach negatively impacts businesses, their employees and our economy even more.”

“This is an extremely onerous burden for any business to bear, but it will be particularly devastating for small businesses,” added Andy Peterson, President and CEO of the Greater North Dakota Chamber.  “Additionally, these regulations will certainly raise energy costs throughout the entire supply chain. And, ultimately, these increased costs will be passed along to consumers in the form of price increases.”

The complete list of chamber organizations joining the brief is below. They were joined by 12 other groups of petitioners that also filed amicus briefs in support of the U.S. Chamber’s lawsuit against EPA.  Those petitions as well as more detailed background information on the case are available at the National Chamber Litigation Center website.

Amicus signers in support of U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Farm Bureau Federation, and State of Alaska v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

  • The Business Council of New York State, Inc.
  • Alaska Chamber of Commerce
  • Albany Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Arctic Slope Regional Corporation
  • Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce
  • Associated Industries of Arkansas, Inc.
  • Association of Washington Business
  • Baltimore/Washington Corridor Chamber of Commerce
  • Battle Creek Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Beaver Dam Chamber of Commerce
  • Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce
  • Bossier Chamber of Commerce
  • Buckeye Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • Business Council of Alabama
  • Catawba Chamber of Commerce
  • Chamber of Reno, Sparks and Northern Nevada
  • Chamber Southwest Louisiana
  • Charlotte Chamber of Commerce
  • Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
  • Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry
  • Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce
  • Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Fresno Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Gallup McKinley County Chamber of Commerce
  • Georgia Chamber of Commerce
  • Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Burlington Partnership
  • Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater North Dakota Chamber
  • Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Sandoval County Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce (Illinois)
  • Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce (Virginia)
  • Greater Summerville/Dorchester County Chamber
  • Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Indiana Chamber of Commerce
  • Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
  • Las Vegas Metro Chamber
  • Lincoln Chamber of Commerce
  • Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Louisiana Association of Business and Industry
  • Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Manhattan Chamber of Commerce
  • Michigan Chamber of Commerce
  • Minnesota Chamber of Commerce
  • Missouri Chamber of Commerce
  • Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • North Carolina Chamber
  • Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance
  • Ohio Chamber of Commerce
  • Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism
  • Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry
  • Sacramento Metro Chamber
  • Salt Lake Chamber
  • San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce
  • Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • South Carolina Chamber of Commerce
  • State Chamber of Oklahoma
  • Tempe Chamber of Commerce
  • Texas Association of Business
  • Tucson Metro Chamber
  • Utah Valley Chamber
  • Virginia Chamber of Commerce
  • Visalia Chamber of Commerce
  • West Virginia Chamber of Commerce
  • Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber

About the Author

About the Author

Dan Byers headshot
Vice President, Policy, U.S. Chamber Global Energy Institute

Dan Byers is vice president for policy at the U.S.