Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took a victory lap on the Senate floor Wednesday, following the Supreme Court’s decision to put the Obama administration’s emissions-reduction plan on hold.
Kentucky and more than two dozen other states sued the Environmental Protection Agency to challenge the Clean Power Plan, and thanks to a Supreme Court decision on Tuesday, they won’t have to comply with it until the lawsuit is resolved.
The Kentucky Republican has frequently clashed with the White House on its environmental policies, which he blames for hurting one of his home state’s mainstay industries, coal.
“It’s pretty clear that the administration’s energy regulations threaten a lot of middle-class pain for hardly any substantive environmental gain,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.
Kentucky is the nation’s third-leading coal producer behind Wyoming and West Virginia, and coal generates more than 90 percent of the state’s electricity.
Obama’s plan would have required states to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions one-third by 2030. McConnell, coal producers and coal-dependent utilities had argued that the plan would have required coal-fired power plants to shut down.
McConnell said that Obama’s policies are making an already bad situation worse.
“I’ve repeatedly invited (EPA Administrator) Gina McCarthy and the president to my home state to see the devastation firsthand,” McConnell said. “They have yet to accept.”
A hearing is set in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in June for the challenges mounted by Kentucky and other states.
“We’ll see what the Supreme Court ultimately decides,” McConnell said Wednesday. “But we’re going to keep fighting against these regressive regulations regardless.”