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Rutledge Urges ATF to Discard Ammo Proposal

Rutledge Urges ATF to Discard Controversial Ammo Proposal

Tue, Mar 17, 2015

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and 22 other state attorneys general have sent a letter to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) urging the agency to permanently discard a proposed ban on M855 5.56 x 45mm ammunition. On March 10, ATF shelved the proposal after an outpouring of opposition, including from the law enforcement community, but the agency plans to continue to accept public comments on the proposal. Rutledge released the following statement:

“I am proud to join 22 of my colleagues from across the country to urge the ATF to drop any further consideration of this proposed ban on ammunition that only serves to target the top-selling rifle in the country, the AR-15 semi-automatic. Many Arkansas sportsmen and target shooters use this type of bullet, and this is yet another attempt by the Obama Administration to do an end-run around Arkansas’s elected representatives in Congress.”

Following its latest decision to shelf the proposal, the ATF indicated it would continue to take public comment until the close of business on March 16. In the letter submitted to the ATF yesterday, Rutledge and the other attorneys general contend that the proposed ban is arbitrary, unnecessary and could easily lead to bans on a wide range of rifle ammunition.

“We applaud your recent decision not to issue a final framework on this proposal, at least for now, and we strongly encourage you not to revive it,” the attorneys general wrote. “We represent our respective states as each state’s Chief Law Enforcement Officer, and in that role we directly oversee or work directly with numerous federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement agencies. We, as much as anyone, want to do the utmost to ensure that our brave men and women that serve in law enforcement are safe. The proposed ATF ban on M855 5.56 ammunition, however, does not advance that goal. Instead, it threatens Second Amendment freedoms and deprives shooting sports enthusiasts of a popular cartridge for a popular rifle.”

The attorneys general highlighted the opposition to the ban voiced by law enforcement organizations.

“As law enforcement organizations, such as the Fraternal Order of Police, have recently described, the 5.56 M855 cartridge does not pose a particular threat to law enforcement. Indeed, we are aware of no examples in our states in which this round has been used against law enforcement in a concealed weapon.”

In closing, the 23 attorneys general urged ATF “to reject this ill-advised proposal and uphold the Second Amendment rights of our citizens.”

The letter was signed by the attorneys general of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.

A copy of the letter can be found here.

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Milligan Investigation Statement

Rutledge Statement on Milligan Investigation

Fri, Mar 13, 2015

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that she concluded her investigation of Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan and his hiring of a relative to his administration, a violation of Arkansas law. Rutledge released the following statement:

“I have concluded my investigation of Treasurer of State Milligan. As a result of my findings, Treasurer Milligan has agreed to a settlement agreement. He has signed the agreement with my office and will pay the maximum civil penalty of $1,000. Although the agreement gives Treasurer Milligan until April 6, 2015 to pay the penalty, he elected to pay the fine upon signing the settlement. This payment will be deposited to the General Revenue Fund Account of the State Apportionment Fund. Treasurer Milligan has met the requirements set forth in the settlement, and I now consider this matter resolved.”

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Solicitor General Would Benefit Arkansas

Rutledge: Solicitor General Would Benefit Arkansas

Tue, Mar 10, 2015

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today testified before the General Assembly Joint Budget Subcommittee on Personnel to discuss the Attorney General’s Office budget and to request approval for the reclassification of a current position to Solicitor General. Rutledge released the following statement:

“Today, I requested approval for a Solicitor General at the Attorney General’s Office. In recent years, most of the attorneys general from across the country have added a Solicitor General to their office to assist with the increasing workload, specifically the growing number of large multi-state consumer protection cases and the increasingly complex appellate matters at the state and national levels. I have spoken with many of my colleagues about a Solicitor General, and I believe the position would benefit the State of Arkansas greatly.”

The subcommittee unanimously passed the reclassification.

The position will not increase the number of authorized employees at the Attorney General’s Office and will not increase the requested appropriation.

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111(d) Intervention Granted

Intervention Granted for the State of Arkansas Against EPA’s Proposed 111(d) Rule

Mon, Mar 9, 2015

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has granted the State’s motion to intervene in a federal lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed 111(d) rule that seeks to reduce carbon emissions from electric generating units. Rutledge released the following statement:

“As Attorney General, I will seek to protect Arkansans against an overreaching federal government that is attempting to implement heavy-handed regulations that go beyond the scope of the law. As I pointed out in my testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight Subcommittee on the Interior on February 26, the 111(d) rule from the EPA mandates the standards that Arkansas must achieve, rather than providing guidelines for Arkansas to use in its efforts to reduce carbon pollution. This rule goes beyond the EPA’s authority granted by Congress and seeks to impose a national energy policy that will harm Arkansas’s economy.”

Rutledge sought the motion to intervene on Feb. 13 in order to join the lawsuit with attorneys general from West Virginia, Alabama, Alaska, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wyoming and Kentucky.

As indicated in the motion, Arkansas is required to meet the sixth most stringent obligation of all the states under the proposed 111(d) rule, yet Arkansas ranks 46th in per capita income. The EPA proposes emissions rate reductions of 41 percent and 44 percent as interim and final requirements. The drastic reductions required under the proposed rule will negatively impact existing industry, future economic development and electric ratepayers in Arkansas.

The case is currently pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Click here for a copy of Rutledge’s opening statement at the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight Subcommittee on the Interior or a video can be found here.

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Amendment 83 Stay

Rutledge: Amendment 83 Stay Will Remain as Appeal Moves Forward

Wed, Mar 4, 2015

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released the following statement after U.S. District Court Judge Kristine Baker issued an order denying the plaintiffs’ request to lift the stay of her ruling in the challenge to Amendment 83:

“As the State prepares to defend Amendment 83 to the Arkansas Constitution and Arkansas’s marriage statutes before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in May, I am pleased that Judge Baker has denied the request to lift the stay. As the State argued in its response to the plaintiffs’ motion, unnecessary confusion, uncertainty and additional litigation would have resulted had Judge Baker lifted her stay while this case is pending before the Eighth Circuit. As the appeal moves forward, I will continue to vigorously defend the constitutionality of Arkansas’s marriage laws.”

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Oversight Subcommittee on the Interior Testimony

Rutledge Delivers Testimony Before U.S. House Oversight Subcommittee on the Interior

Thu, Feb 26, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today appeared before the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight Subcommittee on the Interior to offer testimony on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations and their impact on the states.

A copy of Rutledge’s testimony is available upon request by contacting Judd Deere at judd.deere@arkansasag.gov.

Rutledge’s remarks are below, as prepared for delivery:

Chairwoman Lummis, Ranking Member Lawrence, members of the committee, thank you for inviting me to speak to this committee today. My name is Leslie Rutledge and I am the Attorney General of Arkansas. I am here today to give you a sense of how our state, one that has a rich natural heritage and is known across the nation as the Natural State for its rolling hills, dense woodlands, and miles of rivers and lakes, will be impacted by overreaching regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Specifically, the EPA exceeds its legal authority in three recently proposed rules – the Clean Power Plan, more stringent ground-level ozone standards and changes to the definition of the Waters of the United States.

Clean Power Plan

As Attorney General, I represent the interests of Arkansas’s utility ratepayers. These are hardworking Arkansans; some own their own small business, while others might maintain their multi-generational family farm. From Fayetteville to Warren, and Texarkana to Jonesboro, and all points in between, I have heard great concern about the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan.

The rule will require Arkansas to meet an almost 45% reduction in carbon emissions from electric generating units by 2030. This is the 6th highest rate of reduction in the nation, imposed upon a state that currently ranks 46th in per capita income. This is a rule that the EPA does not have the legal authority to issue.

The EPA regulates coal-fired power plants, such as the one in Independence County where I grew up, under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act, not Section 111(d). In fact, the law cannot be any clearer - it specifically prohibits the EPA from invoking Section 111(d) where the “source category...is regulated under section [112]....”

The proposed rule mandates what each state must achieve, rather than providing guidelines and appropriate procedures for states to use in establishing standards of performance within their state. This is a serious overreach of the EPA’s authority and different from the implementation of any other limits set under the Clean Air Act.

My opposition to this rule may beg the question as to whether I am for clean air. I certainly am, and I would say confidently that my fellow Arkansans are in favor of clean air. But the rule goes beyond the EPA’s authority to regulate air pollution – it imposes a misguided national energy policy and seeks to control the states’ regulation of energy generation and usage.

Ozone Standards

Also under the Clean Air Act, the EPA has proposed unnecessarily stringent ground-level ozone standards. The proposed rule reduces the current standard of 75 parts per million to somewhere between 65 and 70 parts per million, perhaps even as low as 60 parts per million. A decrease to 60 parts per million will have a devastating effect on Arkansas. At that level, all of Arkansas would likely be in non-attainment. Anyone who has visited Arkansas would be hard-pressed to believe that our beautiful mountains and the tourism industry they support have a smog problem. Years of nonattainment would directly impact permitted operations of our manufacturing sector and set back any economic recovery that we have achieved in the past few years.

Waters of the United States

Likewise, the EPA’s attempt to “clarify” the definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act is so expansive that it could likely control land use activities over most of the United States. As Arkansas’s Attorney General, this is a major concern for me, because this would drastically impact, among others, Arkansas’s farmers and ranchers. Rather than clarifying, the proposed rule is more complicated than current law. The process for determining jurisdiction becomes a maze for both regulators and the public to navigate.

As I have already mentioned, Arkansas’s agricultural community would be left with increased uncertainty over the Clean Water Act. Agriculture is essential to our economy. According to the Arkansas Farm Bureau, agriculture provides $16 billion annually and one out of every six jobs in the state.

While the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have repeatedly offered verbal assurances that agriculture need not worry about the scope of the proposed definition of “waters of the United States,” farmers in Arkansas are worried because of the actions of the agencies, not their words. For example, in 2014, the Corps took action against a Tennessee row crop farm determining part of the field to be “waters of the United States.” Arkansas farmers worry that everyday activities like that of the farm in our neighboring state, such as plowing and the appropriate application of pesticides and fertilizer, will subject them to federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.

Conclusion

While each of these rules would cause great harm to Arkansas on its own, the cumulative effect cannot be overstated. The Obama Administration is intent on following an agenda that ignores the plain language of the laws passed by Congress and has created a perfect storm of federal regulations that will result in economic disaster for a state like Arkansas. Arkansans believe in protecting our environment and we take great pride in being the Natural State, and we also take pride in supplying the world with food and in growing jobs in our state.

I want to thank the Committee once again for inviting me today to speak to you and for your time and consideration of this issue that is very important to me. I am happy to answer any questions that you may have.

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