Sen. Mitch McConnell encouraged states to defy federal environmental regulations by simply ignoring them in an op-ed published in Wednesday’s Lexington Herald-Leader.
The Republican Senate Majority leader is protesting the Environmental Protection Agency’s attempts to slash greenhouse gas emissions from coal plants; once the agency finalizes their rules this summer, they’ll ask states to submit a plan detailing their plans to implement the regulation.
McConnell’s plan? Ignore them.
“Don't be complicit in the administration's attack on the middle class. Think twice before submitting a state plan — which could lock you in to federal enforcement and expose you to lawsuits — when the administration is standing on shaky legal ground and when, without your support, it won't be able to demonstrate the capacity to carry out such political extremism,” he wrote. “Refusing to go along at this time with such an extreme proposed regulation would give the courts time to figure out if it is even legal, and it would give Congress more time to fight back. We're devising strategies now to do just that.”
Shortly after his reelection, McConnell said his top priority is "to try to do whatever I can to get the EPA reined in."
The Senate Majority leader hails from coal country, Kentucky, where the industry is struggling and has lost thousands of jobs, so his attacks on the EPA aren't surprising. But with the agency attempting its most dramatic regulations—it could close hundreds of coal plants across the country—McConnell is upping the ante.
Already 12 states—including Kentucky—have filed lawsuits against the regulations and that number is expected to double in the coming months.