Laxalt files brief on constitutionality of EPA’s Clean Power Plan

This story has been updated to clarify the actions taken by the Attorney General’s office:

Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt filed a friend-of-the-court brief on the constitutionality of the EPA’s regulation rule-making authority on Wednesday.

Nevada’s brief explains how, under the Clean Air Act, individual states have primary decision-making authority to establish pollution emission standards for already-existing power plants, Laxalt’s office said in a statement. The EPA’s sweeping Clean Power Plan rule, however, disregards the text of the Act in this and other ways, exceeding the federal agency’s statutory authority, the AG’s office said.

“We are repeatedly seeing more federal regulation that is less tied to the actual text of the laws that federal agencies claim is the basis for their rules,” Laxalt said in a statement.

An appeal by more than a dozen states to the implementation of the Clean Power Plan has reached the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court delayed implementation of the Clean Power Plan until the appeals process is completed. The case is likely to come back to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The brief filed by Laxalt was joined by Consumers’ Research. It claims the Clean Power Plan could cost consumers up to $79 billion.

“In taking this action, the attorney general is simply offering his legal opinion,” Gov. Brian Sandoval’s spokeswoman Mari St. Martin said. “The governor is focused on finding a uniquely Nevada policy solution for clean and renewable energy through the work of the recently reconvened New Energy Industry Task Force that centers around the tenets laid out in the bipartisan Clean Energy Accord that he signed with 16 other governors last week.”

John Friedrich, senior campaigner for Climate Parents, released the following statement on Laxalt’s decision to support the legal challenge to the Clean Power Plan:

“Attorney General Adam Laxalt’s opposition to the Clean Power Plan is a disservice to the people of Nevada. He has chosen to place the interests of a few out of state coal corporations over the health and well-being of Nevada’s children, communities and climate. AG Laxalt’s decision contradicts the stated intention of Gov. Brian Sandoval to make Nevada the clean energy leader it can and should be.

“A new study from Duke University and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies found that reducing U.S. carbon pollution could prevent 175,000 premature deaths by 2030, and result in health benefits of roughly $250 billion per year.”

Climate Parents states its a national organization supporting strong climate and clean energy policies. The organization stated it delivered a petition with more than 4,300 signatures to Sandoval, calling for him to move forward with plans to meet the requirements of the Clean Power Plan. For more information on the organization, visit

“Nevada state agencies and the subject-matter experts, who reviewed the implementation of the Clean Power Plan have concluded that Nevada is uniquely situated in terms of the proposed implementation of the Plan,” a spokeman from Laxalt’s office said. “Unlike other states participating in the litigation, Nevada apparently does not foresee any increase in consumer rates. Nevada has not joined the main case, but rather AG Laxalt’s friend-of-the-court brief highlights the federal agency’s overreach and disregard for the rule of law associated with the Plan.”


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