WV to sue EPA

WEST Virginia attorney general Patrick Morrisey is taking the war on coal into his own hands, telling a large crowd in Wheeling that the state would be embarking on litigation against the US Environmental Protection Agency over its strengthening regulations over the coal industry.
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West Virginia attorney general Patrick Morrisey

Donna Schmidt

At a town hall meeting regarding job creation at West Virginia Northern Community College this week, he said regulations were being issued “on a daily basis” by the agency and that the state would “seek to form a collective voice” by joining other states in lawsuits to fight the proposals.

“In the past, the governor had to really push and have the attorney general’s office kicking and screaming to file suits against the EPA … that’s not the case anymore,” he said.

“We now are working collaboratively with the governor and the [state Department of Environmental Protection] to speak with one voice.”

This type of cooperation, Morrisey added, allowed West Virginia to be involved with the process at an earlier juncture and enter the state's official comments into federal records.

That, he said, would make it harder for the EPA to put its rules into place.

All the while, West Virginia is also working to build relationships with other states’ attorneys general with similar positions.

“We’re now able to speak with more strength because we can now have six, 10, 15 or even 20 attorneys general join a brief and step forward so that West Virginia’s voice is magnified,” Morrisey said.

“You didn’t have that in the past.”

The speech is one of many being made by pro-industry legislators in the weeks since us President Obama introduced CAP, his Climate Action Plan that takes a direct hit at coal.

In it, Obama ordered immediate action by the EPA to develop even stronger coal regulations that could bring the market to its knees.

“The countervailing force is the president is trying to bankrupt the coal industry, and that’s a problem,” Morrisey said in the presentation.

“What we try to do is gum up the works and make it as hard as possible for the administration to finalize invalid rules. Then we have to make sure we’re doing that close enough to 2016, because we know this president is going to issue one illegal regulation after another.”

So far, West Virginia, Montana and Kansas are all involved in actions to overturn the rule that gives the EPA authority to regulate greenhouse gases from power plants. The three filed an amicus brief with the US Supreme Court in May.

Democrat governor Earl Ray Tomblin, another support of the industry, put the issue into perspective in a prior statement.

“The EPA’s proposed limits on greenhouse gas emissions threaten the livelihood of our coal miners to the point of killing jobs and crippling our state and national economies, while also weakening our country’s efforts toward energy independence,” he said.

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