No quick resolution to EPA regulation affecting coal

An editorial from The Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Don’t look for a quick resolution to the ongoing challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed plan to cut carbon emissions.

That was the assumption last month after nearly two hours of arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and nothing has changed.

The issue is a rule proposed by the EPA last year that requires states to cut carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030. It gives each state a customized target and the responsibility for drawing up an effective plan to meet the goal.

The target, obviously, is coal.

The court appears hesitant to step in now because the agency has not yet made the rule final.

Lawsuits — one from a coalition of 15 coal-reliant states, led by West Virginia, and another brought by Ohio-based Murray Energy Corp., the nation’s largest privately held coal mining company that has operations in North Central West Virginia — contend the anticipated EPA action and the need to deal with it will kill jobs, force coal companies to shut down plants and drive up electricity prices.

EPA officials say the rules will protect public health by fighting climate change and lower electric costs 8 percent by 2030.

“While we have always said that it is unusual to set aside a proposed rule, we believe that it is legally justified and appropriate in this case…

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