Fighting for Coal

Via The Bluefield Daily Telegraph:

Members of a 24-state coalition led by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton are urging President-elect Donald Trump and congressional leaders to act quickly next month in withdrawing President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, and to take necessary steps to ensure that similar or more extreme job-killing proposals never again take shape.

The coalition forwarded a letter to Trump, and congressional leaders last week, urging prompt action.

In the bipartisan letter – addressed to Vice President-elect Mike Pence, Senate President Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan — the coalition suggested a four-point strategy that begins with Trump rescinding his predecessor’s Climate Action Plan on day one.

 “An executive order on day one is critical,” Morrisey wrote in the letter. “The order should explain that it is the administration’s view that the (Clean Power Plan) is unlawful and that EPA lacks authority to enforce it. The executive order is necessary to send an immediate and strong message to states and regulated entities that the administration will not enforce the rule.”

In the letter, the coalition suggests Trump follow with formal administrative action to withdraw the Power Plan and related matters in court. Such action will properly effectuate the rule’s withdrawal, while negotiating an end to pending litigation, the 24 states said in the letter.

Finally, the coalition is recommending Congress take longer-term legislative action. Morrisey said the proposed legislative fix aims to prevent any future U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from drafting similarly unlawful and/or more extreme rules.

 West Virginia and Texas led a 27-state coalition challenging the EPA’s Power Plan on Oct. 23, 2015, the very day it was published. That original coalition was successful in halting the rule’s enforcement by winning a stay of the regulation on Feb. 9, 2016, before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The legal challenge argues the Power Plan exceeded EPA’s congressional authority by transforming the nation’s energy industry, double regulating coal-fired power plants and forcing states to fundamentally shift their energy portfolios away from coal-fired generation. Furthermore, it argues the Power Plan violates the U.S. Constitution by attempting to commandeer and coerce the states into carrying out federal energy policy.

While there is no magic wand that Trump can wave that will automatically restore the thousands of coal mining jobs that have been lost over the past eight years under the Obama administration, the repeal of the job-killing Clean Power Plan would be a good start. The removal of these burdensome, anti-coal regulations, can only help the still struggling industry, which has faced multiple challenges in recent years, including intense competition from natural gas.

With the support of Republican majorities in both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, Trump should be well positioned to act upon the request of the 24-state coalition.

See the article here.