A petition drive which asks the state to invoke the 10th amendment to battle federal environmental policies was officially launched at a rally in Cheyenne on Thursday.

Political activist and Tea Party organizer M. Lee Hasenauer says he is hoping the state legislature will pass a bill in the 2016 budget session to counter Environmental Protection Agency emissions standards that threaten to severely curtail the use of coal to generate electricity.The 10th amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads as follows:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people''.

Hasenauer says former Governor Dave Freudenthal  used the amendment several years ago to fight federal policies on wolves and grizzly bears in the state.

He says that while petition organizers don't have a target number in mind as far as the number of signatures they hope to collect, they are hoping to garner enough support to impress lawmakers.

Hasenauer admitted there is no guarantee the federal government would recognize the bill even if it is passed. But he went on to say a decision to ignore the bill would in turn wreck the U.S. coal industry, with devastating economic results.

He also claimed  federal environmental policies are really being implemented at the request of the United Nations.

Hasenauer is a former Laramie County Commissioner. He was defeated in his re-election bid in 2012