PHOENIX (Legal Newsline) - Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne announced this week that the State has withdrawn from a federal lawsuit in which it had previously supported the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's greenhouse gas regulatory scheme.

Horne, a Republican, was elected in November after defeating Felecia Rotellini, a prosecutor for a Phoenix-based private practice law firm. Horne previously served as superintendent of the state's public school system.

The attorney general said Arizona will no longer support the proposed EPA Reporting Rule requiring mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions above appropriate thresholds in all sectors of the U.S. economy.

The state also will no longer support the Endangerment Finding and so-called California Waiver portions of the regulations, Horne said.

"I am passionate about protecting the rights of individual states under the 10th Amendment. And I am equally passionate about limiting government intrusion into the ability of employers to reasonably operate their businesses," Horne said.

"This regulatory scheme is a classic example of a federal agency trying to do the job of elected legislators and at the same time place burdensome mandates on business.

"The federal government cannot continue to increase its size and scope at the expense of the constitutional protections envisioned by the Founders. This proposed EPA action would exacerbate that problem and have therefore withdrawn the support this action was given by my predecessor," he said.

The state's former attorney general, Terry Goddard, a Democrat, had supported the EPA's efforts to curb greenhouse gases.

The agency started to regulate greenhouse gases after climate change legislation failed to move through Congress. President Barack Obama's administration has said that the gases are a threat to not only the environment, but also to human health.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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