An editorial from The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register
WHEELING, W.Va. — Let us hope there remains enough fidelity to the Constitution among U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials that a federal judge’s order on Monday means something to them. Unfortunately, recent history suggests that may be an unrealistic thought.
West Virginians, Ohioans and millions of other Americans who may not even understand the stakes won a victory Monday against President Barack Obama’s war on coal and affordable electricity. It came in the form of a ruling by U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey in Wheeling.
Bailey ruled in favor of Murray Energy Corp. and its subsidiaries in a lawsuit filed against the EPA. In essence, the ruling requires the agency to do something it has not — take into account the economic impacts of its assault against coal-fired power plants. That is required by the Clean Air Act of 1971, Bailey noted.
Murray, which operates mines in our two states and others, has filed six lawsuits against the EPA. Company President and CEO Robert Murray explained why on Monday, citing both closures of coal-fired power plants and job-killing shutdowns of the mines than fed them.
At least 411 coal-fired generating units in the United States have been shut down because of EPA action, Murray said. That eliminated an enormous supply of the “lowest-cost electric power available across the country,” he emphasized.
In addition, the EPA’s actions have meant “tens of thousands of coal miners have been put out of work, and their families are suffering,” Murray said.
The company, along with officials in several states, previously had been successful in gaining a U.S. Supreme Court order that the EPA delay implementation of Obama’s proposed Clean Power Plan — devised in spite of rather than in cooperation with Congress. If enforced, it will close more power plants and coal mines.
But it was the EPA’s reaction to that order that should concern many Americans who rely on affordable electricity from coal-fired power plants.
EPA officials have continued to move forward with the CPP, insisting they are merely helping states plan for it, not implementing it.
That is nonsense, of course. EPA officials know full well they are thumbing their noses at the Supreme Court. They also understand what they are doing encourages states to adopt CPP-compliant rules that will mean more power plant closures.
Bailey has ordered the agency to conduct the required evaluation of the economic effects of its actions. His decision reminds the agency its war on coal and affordable electricity has, in effect, been conducted illegally.
Unfortunately, Obama and his minions at the EPA have not let that worry them in the past.