WHEELING — The Environmental Protection Agency plans to rely on its Science Advisory Board to satisfy U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey’s mandate that it evaluate job losses as part of implementing new regulations, but Murray Energy Corp. officials called the compliance plan “deeply offensive.”
This week, EPA attorneys filed the compliance plan Bailey required regarding how the agency would account for potential job losses while enforcing the Clean Air Act. Last month, Bailey affirmed the position Murray and its subsidiaries took in March 2014 that the EPA did not comply with a section of the federal law requiring a study of the jobs impact of its regulations.
However, EPA attorneys wrote to Bailey, “the U.S. maintains that this court lacks jurisdiction over this matter; that the (EPA) has performed the evaluations as described in section 321 (a) …” The attorneys clearly state they may also appeal Bailey’s ruling, but submitted the plan to satisfy his requirement.
Murray Energy Corp. Chairman, President and CEO Robert E. Murray quickly blasted the EPA’s response.
“The response to the federal court filed yesterday by (President) Barack Obama, (EPA Administrator) Gina McCarthy, and the U.S. Department of Justice is deeply offensive to the court, to the employees of Murray Energy and their families, and to those Americans who rely on the lowest cost and most reliable electricity, which coal provides,” Murray said. “Indeed, the Obama EPA has plainly admitted in their filing that they have never counted the job losses required under Section 321(a) of the Clean Air Act of 1971 and will require up to two years to do so. They have totally flouted and ignored the law and the court.”
Throughout the response, EPA attorneys continuously refer to the 14-day turnaround from Bailey’s Oct. 17 ruling as an obstacle to formulating a full strategy for compliance. The EPA cites the work the advisory board did on the agency’s extensive natural gas fracking study from 2011 to this year as evidence it can rely on the board for advice.
Murray believes this is all a “clear disregard for the law.”
“Our nation’s coal miners, and their families, cannot endure the continued destruction of their lives by the illegal regulations and actions of the Obama administration. Murray Energy Corp. will continue to fight back in order to save these American jobs and family livelihoods, and the most reliable, lowest-cost electricity in America,” Murray said.
Although there is a national stay against the agency’s enforcement of the Clean Power Plan while legal challenges to it are resolved, Murray said Wednesday the administration is illegally proceeding with its “Clean Energy Incentive Program.”
“The so-called Clean Power Plan is absolutely illegal and constitutes a total political power grab of America’s power grid. While Murray Energy was successful in obtaining a nationwide stay from the Supreme Court, the Obama EPA has continued to flout the law and the Supreme Court, and continue to implement their illegal agenda,” Murray said.
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