WASHINGTON, March 11 (Reuters) - The head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday warned opponents that the agency will enforce regulations to slash carbon emissions from power plants even if states choose not to cooperate.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy hit back at lawmakers who have called on state officials to ignore federal deadlines to submit plans to comply with the agency’s Clean Power Plan, saying the agency is confident its proposal will weather political and legal challenges.
Last week, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of coal state Kentucky urged governors and state officials to “think twice” before submitting state plans to the EPA, joining a wider “just say no” campaign led by some lawmakers and industry groups advocating for states to ignore the power plant proposal.
“The EPA is going to regulate. Mid-summer is when the Clean Power Plan is going to be finalized,” McCarthy said, adding that the agency will force states that refuse to submit compliance strategies to adopt a federal implementation plan.
The EPA is expected to propose the federal implementation plan as a default for states this summer.
“If folks are thinking any of those pieces aren’t going to happen - and (the Clean Power Plan) isn’t going to be implemented, I think they need to look at the history of the Clean Air Act more carefully. This isn’t how we do business,” she said.
A dozen states, including Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana and Wyoming, sued the EPA last August soon after it proposed its Clean Power Plan last summer on grounds that the agency’s use of a certain section of the Clean Air Act was illegal.
The federal DC Circuit Court of Appeals will hear the case on April 16. (Reporting By Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Diane Craft)