We were not surprised by last week’s decision by a federal appeals court to throw out a pair of high-profile lawsuits challenging the Obama administration’s controversial plan to curb pollution at the expense of coal mining and the nation’s existing coal-fired power plants. That’s because the court warned early into the proceedings that it would be difficult to issue a ruling on a proposed rule that is not yet final. And we certainly don’t dispute that argument.
But West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, and the 14 other state attorney generals who are challenging this controversial rule, were correct in taking proactive steps to challenge the EPA and the Obama administration in court before the new rules were finalized. And they most certainly should refile their legal chance once the EPA rules become final later this summer.
The states challenging the EPA plan are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming and Wisconsin. Noticeably absent from that list is Virginia — a coal-producing state.
Opponents correctly argue that the EPA plan will — and already has — resulted in the loss of thousands of coal-mining jobs and the closure of coal-fired power plants. They also warn that the closure of these coal-fired power plants will drive up electricity rates for Americans across the country. The states and Ohio-based Murray Energy Corp. maintain that the plan is illegal because the EPA already regulates other power plant pollutants under a different section of the Clean Air Act. They say the law prohibits “double regulation,” the Associated Press reported last week.
The court’s ruling should be viewed as only a temporary setback, as the 15 states plan to refile their lawsuit once the EPA rules are finalized later this summer.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said he was disappointed with the ruling but added “we still think we have a compelling case that the rule is unlawful.” He said the state would continue with litigation to stop “this unlawful power grab by Washington bureaucrats.”
We urge Morrisey, and the 14 other state attorney generals, to continue this battle. We’ve already seen great harm done to the coalfields of southern West Virginia and neighboring Southwest Virginia as a result of these proposed new EPA rules. That’s why it is so important for both state and federal lawmakers to continue this fight.
Thousands of jobs have already been lost across the coalfields. We simply can’t sit back and allow further harm to be done to our region.
See the article here.
- On June 16, 2015