Supreme Court decision an ‘important victory’ in Kansas’ fight against federal overregulation, Kansas attorney general says

The U.S. Supreme Court today sided with Kansas and blocked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from proceeding with greenhouse gas regulations.

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court held that EPA exceeded the statutory authority that Congress gave it. The decision is expected to have an effect on the Board of Public Utilities and Kansas City, Kan., electric customers.

Kansas argued that EPA tried to shoehorn regulation of greenhouse gases into parts of the Clean Air Act that were not meant to regulate greenhouse gases, according to Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt.

The Supreme Court agreed, stating that it was “patently unreasonable—not to say outrageous—for EPA to insist on seizing expansive power that it admits the statute is not designed to grant.”

“This is an important victory for Kansas jobs, our state’s economy, and the rule of law,” Schmidt said. “The bottom line is that EPA cannot rewrite federal statutes to pursue a regulatory agenda that is beyond its statutory authority.”

Schmidt led a group of six states in support of the Texas-led legal challenge to the EPA regulations. The Kansas support was filed with the Supreme Court in December 2013.

“This ruling is about basic civics: Those who seek additional government controls on greenhouse gases need to engage the United States Congress, where issues like these can be fully debated—not bypass Congress and attempt to stretch existing laws beyond all recognition,” Schmidt said. “To ensure that any regulatory action EPA pursues stays within the law, Kansas stands ready and willing to challenge any regulation that exceeds EPA’s authority.”

The proposed EPA rule had been expected to cost billions of dollars in administrative and permitting costs, which in turn would have driven up electric rates for consumers. The regulations could have eventually required stationary sources such as Kansas schools, churches, shopping centers and small businesses to get expensive greenhouse gas permits.

The case is Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, No. 12-1146, which was consolidated with Texas v. EPA, No. 12-1269 and four other cases.

Reardon speaks at fiber conference

Former Kansas City, Kan., mayor Joe Reardon was a featured speaker at the C Spire Fiber to the Home “FTTH” conference held in May in Ridgeland, Miss.

The event heralded the start of construction on the nation’s first statewide 1 Gbps FTTH initiative.

C Spire, a diversified telecommunications and technology services company, is building out the ultra-high speed infrastructure in nine Mississippi cities in the initial phase. The conference celebrated the beginning of construction in the first neighborhood in Mississippi, reviewed progress made in qualifying other cities for construction and provided details on plans to add additional cities in the next phase of this initiative.

In addition to Reardon, C Spire President and CEO Hu Meena, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, Chris Coleman, mayor of St. Paul, Minn., and president of the National League of Cities, and Heather Gold, president of the Fiber to the Home Council Americas, attended to help celebrate this step.

Reardon, now practicing attorney with McAnany, Van Cleave and Phillips Law Firm, offers a unique perspective. Reardon is a leader in advocating for more robust broadband infrastructure in communities and states across the United States. He has first-hand knowledge of the public-private link from his experience of being mayor while Google Fiber implemented an ultra-high-speed fiber network in Kansas City, Kan.

BPU to meet June 25

The Board of Public Utilities has scheduled meetings at 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 25, at the board offices, 540 Minnesota Ave., Kansas City, Kan.

The work session at 4:30 p.m. will include a general manager update, board update, and overview of asset management software.

At the 6 p.m. meeting, on the agenda are a visitors’ time, legislative update, “Everyday Hero” recognition, Kansas Department of Health and Environment revolving loan approval; bond sale update, board comments and general manager comments.