Fighting for South Carolina Against the EPA

There is a right way to do the right thing, but also a wrong way to do the right thing. Even the best of intentions can lead to negative results. You know what they say about the road to hell — it’s paved with good intentions.

The best of intentions can also carry unintended consequences. As stewards of the environment, it is our responsibility to protect it and ensure that we leave it in great condition for years to come. I agree that the environment must be properly protected through sound regulation. Still, that regulation must balance between practical steps to keep it clean, allowing businesses to operate and expand, while also protecting consumers.

South Carolina wants to work with the EPA to protect our citizens and natural resources for future generations; however, we are simply asking that the EPA consider the economic impact of their actions as well.

When President Obama rolled out his Climate Action Plan last year, it was praised by some in the media for its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, it was simply a new name slapped on the administration’s previous failed initiatives.

The plan takes aim at carbon pollution generated by power plants and other manufacturers. This administration is using the EPA beyond the scope of its authority to crack the regulatory whip to prevent economic recovery in the name of environmental protection.

The EPA seems to stop at nothing when it comes to creating new rules and regulations they claim are in our country’s best interest, but in reality, will ultimately bankrupt entire portions of our economy and drive up the cost of energy for all Americans.

In June, the EPA revealed its proposed standards under the Clean Air Act to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. Under this proposal, each state would need to cut its carbon dioxide emissions rate from current coal-fired power plants to meet state-specific standards starting in 2020. The regulation is a centerpiece of President Obama’s climate initiative.

This federal overreach is unimaginable. This is why I joined a bipartisan coalition of 12 state Attorneys General in a lawsuit against the EPA for their unprecedented actions in attempting to regulate power plant pollution under the Clean Air Act. Simply put, the EPA doesn’t have the authority to regulate existing sources of air pollution.

The proposed regulations would mean higher power bills for South Carolinians — and that isn’t something we are going to let happen without a fight. We are asking the court to block the EPA from implementing these unfounded rules.

This is once again an example of the EPA overstepping its legal boundaries. As Attorney General, I will do everything within my duty to protect the rule of law and the ability of South Carolinians to live, work and raise a family without paying drastically higher energy bills because unelected bureaucrats are regulating through administrative fiat.

Continued regulatory overreach by the EPA is bad for South Carolina businesses, South Carolina families and bad for our future generations. It’s bad because federal bureaucrats can’t be allowed to make up the rules as they go along. It’s bad because the new restrictions would mean higher electric bills for South Carolina’s families and small businesses. And it’s bad when runaway red tape in Washington short-circuits the constitutional process. Along with my fellow attorneys general, I’m committed to fighting this action in court, to prevent unconstitutional overreaches by unelected EPA bureaucrats from disrupting our way of life, rule of law and family budgets.


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South Carolina Stands with Israel

There is no better friend to the United States and to South Carolina than the nation of Israel.

Today, our friend is under constant attacks on multiple fronts. These relentless threats to the safety and security of Israel jeopardize the international economy, the stability of that region, and could ultimately threaten world peace.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli government have shown tremendous patience and restraint to avoid conflict. However, a nation has a responsibility to defend its people from terrorist networks such as Hamas.

Hamas is not acting alone, but with aid from regimes in North Korea and Iran. Historically, Iran’s security services have been the largest supplier of arms and cash to Hamas. This should not be taken lightly, as Iran is not content to threaten solely with harsh words: it desires to put deadly force behind them. Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said Israel should be “wiped out” and “is on its way to annihilation.”

Unfortunately this mindset isn’t unique to just Iran. Just this week, Hamas military commander Mohammad Deif spoke out to state that “there will be no ceasefire without [Israel’s] lifting of the siege…. Victory will be ours.” These regimes are not interested in a ceasefire, but rather complete destruction.

At a National Association of Attorneys General meeting, we discussed potential actions that states could take to avoid aiding and abetting dangerous regimes, such as Iran. I’m proud to say following that meeting, we took action.

Earlier this year, I was honored to work with Ambassador Ron Dermer, Consul General Opher Aviran, as well as legislative leaders such as Senator Joel Lourie and Representatives Alan Clemmons and Bakari Sellers, among others, in passing Iranian Divestment and Contracting legislation similar to measures in more than 30 other states. The specter of divestment by the states is one of the most effective means of pressuring companies to cease their business with Iran.

South Carolina’s divestment policy is simple and straightforward. It precludes government entities from entering into contracts with companies that have significant holdings in Iran’s energy sector. Reducing those revenue sources means less funding for Iran’s ongoing campaign of terror, intimidation and oppression.

By divesting holdings from companies that do business with Iran’s energy sector, companies must choose whether they want to do business with Iran, or South Carolina. Doing so protects South Carolina’s resources from being put in a precarious position, and potentially conflicting with national security efforts. This was an important action to ensure South Carolina does not aid or support regimes which sponsor terrorism and allows us to disassociate from Iran’s rogue behavior.

We are not telling companies who they can and cannot do business with in the free market. However we are saying that if a company wishes to do business with terrorist regimes, such as Iran, then South Carolina does not want their business.

The people of Israel are in harm’s way. Prime Minister Netanyahu continues to warn that Israeli’s must prepare for “more fighting” and went on to state that they will do “whatever is necessary” to defend themselves from these threats and “death tunnels”.

South Carolina took action earlier this year to send the message that we will not support regimes that wish to cause harm on our friends and allies. The Palmetto State stands with Israel in prayerful solidarity and hope that their actions will soon restore peace to all peoples of the world.

This Op-Ed was published August 2014. 

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