Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said Wednesday he has joined 25 other state attorneys general in pressing for a stay of the Clean Power Plan.
“The (Environmental Protection Agency) keeps pushing these regulations out and in some respects, even if they don’t win in court, the damage will be done,” Morrisey said. If the rules go into effect while a court case to prove them illegal is pending, they essentially become the rules, he said.
“But it starts to inject a sense of hope in people that there is a future, that there is still a role for coal,” he said. “It’s still going to be important for the state, before we diversify; it’s always best to be doing so from a position of strength where we have jobs.”
In a media release from Morrisey’s office, the attorney general says the Clean Power Plan “exceeds the EPA’s authority by double regulating coal-fired power plants and by forcing states to fundamentally alter their energy portfolios and shift away from coal-fired generation.”
Having state-by-state standards is prohibited, Morrisey said.
“The EPA is designed to serve as an environmental regulator and not to determine how much energy is used in each state,” he said. “Environmental regulation is different than determining certain levels of emission on coal, which are going to effectively dial coal out.”
West Virginia and Texas filed suit against the Obama administration in October, the day the rule was published by the EPA. Wednesday’s brief responded to EPA arguments filed Dec. 3.
“This has to stop,” Morrisey said. “We urge the court to take quick action and stop the continued implementation of this rule until the court has adequate time to hear our evidence and has an opportunity to decide this case on its merits.”
Morrisey said southern West Virginia needs more energy and resources because of recent coal mine layoffs. Alpha Natural Resources recently sent pink slips to 138 miners in Raleigh and Boone counties.
“Every single family has some tie to coal in southern West Virginia,” Morrisey said. “I think it’s still important to put energy into preserving those jobs.”
Morrisey said he believes the EPA cannot expand carbon emissions regulations without congressional approval.
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- On December 26, 2015