Opinion

Crucial moment unfolds today in case against EPA

An editorial from the Bluefield Daily Telegraph 

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, and a coalition of 27 states and state agencies, are expected to begin their oral arguments today in Washington in their case against the job killing, anti-coal policies, of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, demonstrating the significance of the case, decided in May to hold arguments before the full court as opposed to the typical three-judge panel. The arguments, and the ultimate outcome of the court challenge launched by Morrisey and the other states in response to President Barack Obama’s War on Coal, is critical to the future of coal-producing states like West Virginia and Virginia.

The 27 states, state agencies and coalitions correctly argue that the EPA exceeded its 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. The coalition won its first major victory earlier this year after the Supreme Court issued a stay of the Power Plan in February.

 Furthermore, the coalition also is expected to argue that the U.S. Constitution prohibits any attempt by the federal government to commandeer and coerce the states into carrying out federal law.

“This is a crucial moment in the battle against the Obama-Clinton war on coal families,” Morrisey said last week. “This unlawful rule will devastate the coal industry and those who depend upon its success, while putting at risk affordable energy and thousands of good paying jobs. We remain confident in our arguments and look forward to our day in court.”

West Virginia and Texas announced their opposition to the EPA’s Power Plan on Oct. 23, 2015, the very day it was published. The Mountain State and Texas are joined in the challenge by Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming, along with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality and other state agencies.

 Already, thousands of coal mining job in West Virginia and Virginia have been lost as a result of the crippling anti-coal regulations coming out of Washington. In addition, the coal industry also has been challenged by stiff competition from natural gas and slumping international markets. Great harm has already been done to the coalfield counties of southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia, who are still struggling to diversify their economies in the wake of this crippling federal overreach.

We applaud Morrisey, and the 27 other states and coalitions, for fighting this critical battle. While we can’t undue the great harm that has already been done, a positive ruling would still provide relief from this unprecedented level of federal overeach to struggling communities across Appalachia.

See more from the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.

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