A Constitutional Lesson for Rick Perry

Texas Governor Rick Perry, who has notoriously floated the idea of secession, was reminded yesterday by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals that states cannot simply ignore a federal law they disagree with.

Last fall, Texas flat-out told the EPA that it has no intention of implementing a key part of a federally required permitting program to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA informed the state that since Texas refused to implement this part of the permitting program, the EPA would step in and do it itself.

Yesterday, the DC Circuit refused Texas’s request for a stay of the EPA’s efforts to implement the law. As the National Resources Defense Council blog notes:

Texas is the only state in the nation that refused to let anyone – the state or the feds – issue permits for carbon dioxide, the main cause of global warming. Ironically, that left Texas the only state where companies could not legally start construction on new power plants or other big projects.

The court’s ruling now assures that EPA will be able to fill that void for as long as Texas’ leaders continue their grandstanding, so that companies can continue building their projects, but with reasonable limits on all of their dangerous pollutants.

Governor Perry may not like this federal law, and he can fight it in court, but he can’t simply ignore it.