Mining Industry Asks Court to Freeze Obama Climate Rules
The mining industry is asking a federal appeals court to stay President Obama’s Clean Power Plan until all lawsuits against the rule have been heard.
The National Mining Association joined 16 states and business groups Friday in pressing the court to hear their legal arguments opposing the power plant rules, which they argue will raise energy prices and cause grid instability.
The legal action follows the publication of the rules in the Federal Register, the final stage for the rules to become law, thereby making them challengeable in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
“The rule’s publication in the Federal Register today formally sets in motion a protracted process for legal challenges to the rule,” the group said. The states and industry groups had sued the Obama administration over the plan last year, before the rule was made final and published. The court rejected that suit for not being timely. The D.C. Circuit court can act on a regulation only after it becomes law and published in the Federal Register.
Hal Quinn, CEO for the mining group, said the industry is “asking the court to weigh carefully the far-reaching harm this rule will inflict immediately, well in advance of its effective date” of 2022. He says the “immediacy of substantial harm from this power plant rule is plain from EPA’s own data that show it will cause more than 200 coal-fired power plants to close before courts have time to decide the legality of the rule.” Therefore, staying the rule — effectively putting it on ice — would stop the compliance clock until a decision can be made on its legality.
A group of 16 states will be asking the court Friday to address its arguments against the Clean Power Plan, which they say is a gross overreach of the government’s authority, an affront to states’ rights and unconstitutional. The plan places states on the hook to reduce their emissions one-third by 2030.
Since, the states have argued their case in the court before, the judges are familiar with their case and could stay the Clean Power Plan quickly before ruling on the merits of the case.
Quinn said the coal industry is still reeling from the effects of previous federal rules for mercury. Those rules caused a number of coal-fired power plants to close. The Clean Power Plan is expected to close hundreds more.
“What happened with EPA’s mercury rule cannot be repeated. That costly regulation resulted in far greater closure of power plants than EPA anticipated, and was promulgated, as was this rule, with cavalier disregard for its probable costs to the economy,” he said. “While that rule was ultimately found unlawful due to EPA’s failure to consider costs, the damage it imposed to the grid and the economy cannot be undone.”
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- On October 23, 2015