Proposed legislation in Oklahoma would strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its rule-making powers, nullifying much of the EPA’s ability to make and enforce rules within the borders.
State Senator Patrick Anderson (R-Enid) has introduced the bill, arguing that the EPA’s actions are not allowed under the US Constitution.
Under the proposed legislation the EPA would only be able to enforce laws passed by Congress and not create or enforce any new regulation on its own. Senate Bill 1167 was introduced in December in the state legislature and its first reading is scheduled for Feb. 3.
The bill boldly states:
The Legislature declares that the rulemaking authority of the Environmental Protection Agency is not authorized by the Constitution of the United States and violates its true meaning and intent as given by the founders and ratifiers, and is hereby declared to be invalid in the State of Oklahoma, shall not be recognized by this state, is specifically rejected by this state, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this state
The bill would also require the state legislature to take all steps necessary to block EPA enforcement of rules. The bill essentially is making a Tenth Amendment argument. It states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively.”
A Long Way from Becoming Law
To become law Senate Bill 1167 will have to go through the full legislative process and be signed by Oklahoma’s governor. Once it becomes law, the bill would presumably be challenged by the EPA in federal court. The federal courts and the US Supreme Court would then have to rule on its constitutionality.
Oklahoma in Battle with EPA
Anderson is not the only Oklahoma state official who is seeking to limit the EPA’s powers. Oklahoma State Attorney General Scott Pruitt has filed a lawsuit challenging President Obama’s efforts to regulate carbon emissions from power plants. Pruitt is considering filing more lawsuits against the EPA, according to the Oklahoman newspaper.
“The EPA seems to have the view that the states are merely a vessel to implement whatever policies and regulations the administration sees fit, regardless of the wisdom, cost or efficiency of such measures,” Pruitt testified before a Congressional subcommittee in November.
Pruitt’s major concern seems to be with EPA regulations that would close large numbers of coal burning power plants. He didn’t mention other EPA efforts such as those to regulate waterways.
EPA Seeks to Control Private Creeks and Streams
The EPA has come under increasing criticism in recent years.
A controversial proposal would the EPA greater control over streams on private property, as Off The Grid News reported.
Meanwhile he EPA attempted to increase its power over streams by fining a chicken farmer over runoff from her coops. Off the Grid News reported that a federal judge found the EPA had exceeded its power and blocked the agency’s efforts to fine the farmer. The judge also found there was no scientific basis for some of the EPA’s enforcement efforts.
It looks like the EPA is running into serious resistance to its efforts to increase its powers and authority.