FIRST ON FOX: A coalition of 18 Republican states wrote a letter to Senate leadership Monday, announcing their opposition to Democrats' permitting reform legislation.
The states' attorneys general, led by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, argued in the letter that the Energy Independence and Security Act — which Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., unveiled last week — would strip states of the authority to regulate their own power grids. The states also ripped the deal for being rushed, not allowing the public to understand its provisions or costs.
"The undersigned attorneys general write with strong opposition to the misnamed Energy Independence and Security Act of 2022," Landry and the other attorneys general wrote in the letter first obtained by FOX Business.
"The Act contains assorted provisions that would effectively create a backdoor Clean Power Plan, allow the restricting of the electric grid by abrogating states’ traditional authority to set their own resource and utility policies, and upset the careful balance of state and federal authority that has been a cornerstone of the Federal Power Act for nearly a century," they added.
The Clean Power Plan was a program introduced by the Obama administration in 2015 to curb carbon emissions from power plants 32% by 2030. The Trump administration ultimately nixed the plan in 2018 and, in June, the Supreme Court ruled that federal agencies didn't have the authority to issue such emissions standards without a clear congressional mandate.
"Even Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson never sought to disrupt this federalist system," the Republican states' letter continued. "And worse, it is being proposed with little to no time for the American people to be informed about the costs that will be imposed upon them when these misguided policies are implemented."
The letter was addressed to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who is privately urging Republicans to vote against the legislation. Schumer, though, is reportedly planning to include the bill in the broader government funding bill that must be passed by the end of the month to avoid a shutdown.
Manchin's office said the legislation shortens the timeline for environmental analyses of various energy projects, a process that often delays much-needed projects, requires the president to prioritize reviews of "strategically important energy and mineral projects," "modernizes" permitting regulations and green-lights the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a West Virginia-to-Virginia natural gas pipeline that is under construction.
However, the GOP attorneys general said the bill would give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) the authority to "command utilities" to construct new transmission facilities. It would also empower state utility companies to receive funding from out-of-state taxpayers, they said.
"These provisions eviscerate state sovereign authority, commandeer companies to carry out the will of a three-vote majority of FERC Commissioners, undermine the power of each citizen’s vote to decide policies at the state level, and inevitably force the citizens of our states to subsidize the costs of expensive and unreliable energy policy preferences of California and New York," the letter stated.
"Certain states and companies favored by the current Administration and the current FERC majority will be empowered to distort other states’ resource and energy policy, take state and private land to construct infrastructure in furtherance of these schemes, and force the citizens who did not adopt these policies in their states to foot the bill for it all," it added.
The bill would allow companies with permits to obtain a right-of-way permit over state property, enabling power companies to "run roughshod over state land and sovereignty," according to the officials.
"This drastic federal overstep has serious consequences," the attorneys general wrote.
"States did not spend nearly a decade successfully defending the rule of law against the overreaching and illegal Clean Power Plan only to have similar policies rushed into law through procedural gamesmanship and without hearings, debate, or discussion," they concluded.
While Schumer has expressed support for Manchin's bill, the legislation is expected to face fierce opposition among progressives who have come out against permitting reform.
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and 46 of her fellow Republican senators also unveiled a competing permitting bill, the Simplify Timelines and Assure Regulatory Transparency Act, that GOP leadership has pushed.
In addition to Landry, attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Tennessee, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Virginia signed the letter.