It's hard to fight the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
But for Wyoming, it's an important struggle. Under President Barack Obama, the powerful agency has been active introducing new rules that hurt Wyoming's biggest industries and employers.
It's high time we fund our ability to fight back. That's why we support the state Legislature's decision to make available $2.2 million of state money to fund state and local government legal fights against recent EPA decisions, and we're glad leading lawmakers say they'll make sure the kitty will get refilled if depleted. The state is already involved in five lawsuits against the EPA, and the additional funds mean the EPA will spend more time in court dealing with Wyoming's legal challenges.
That's as it should be.
Some of the EPA's recent moves illustrate why it should face additional trips to the courthouse. The agency unilaterally decided that the city of Riverton is part of the Wind River Indian Reservation, a move that doesn't square with treaty or law. The EPA also recently ignored the state's haze reduction regulation and instead instituted its own, more stringent rule that will cost Wyoming power plant owners tens of millions of dollars. We knew the haze rule would have an effect, but it's punishing to see what the change will cost coal-fired power plants in the state -- plants that hire Wyoming workers and burn Wyoming coal.
When it comes to environmental regulations, the federal EPA is going to trump the state of Wyoming's policies every time. So it's only right the state has its day in court on agency decisions that could cut out part of the state and cost it money and jobs.
Wyoming isn't the only state standing up to the EPA. Whenever possible we should look to partner with other states on the losing end of the agency's decisions and regulations. But the fight must be funded.
Let's spend what it takes to hold the EPA's feet to the fire.