TEXAS is south of Oklahoma. The wind in Oklahoma generally comes from the south. Ergo, Oklahomans should lament a federal court ruling on cross-state, wind-borne pollution.
Instead, we applaud the ruling Tuesday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit. The court said the Environmental Protection Agency overstepped its authority in mandating emissions restrictions in upwind states.
We applaud the decision because it's a victory for the American tradition of letting states decide some things for themselves. This was a theme hit on repeatedly at Tuesday's National Policy Summit on Energy & Federalism sponsored by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs.
States such as Oklahoma, Texas and North Dakota are thriving because they're leveraging their natural resources. They've unleashed the energy and enthusiasm of entrepreneurs and executives such as the ones who run Devon Energy Corp., where the summit was held.
State-based regulation, whether it's over emissions controls, hydraulic fracturing or anything else with environmental concerns, is superior to the one-size-fits-all approach of the Obama administration's EPA. States such as New York aren't leveraging natural resources because of an aversion to fracking, among other things, and that is their right. The people of those states aren't going off the grid, however. They're just consuming gasoline, natural gas and electricity made from coal in other states.
Competitive federalism is a system in which states get to compete in the energy marketplace based on decisions made in state capitols rather than in the nation's capital. The federal appellate court said the EPA broke the law with its cross-state pollution rules. It was a victory for competitive federalism but perhaps a pyrrhic one.
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