Democrat-led West Virginia plans to retaliate against EPA anti-coal regulations

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey told a crowd that the state would join in fighting back against Environmental Protection Agency coal regulations.

“Yes, West Virginia is going to be engaged in litigation against the EPA,” said Morrisey at West Virginia Northern Community College. “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. We now are working collaboratively with the governor and the [state Department of Environmental Protection] to speak with one voice.”

Coordinated action with the governor’s office and state agencies would allow West Virginia to enter into to the federal regulatory process earlier and make it hard for the agency to implement rules by submitting comments into the federal records.

“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 added. “You didn’t have that in the past.”

This announcement comes just weeks after President Obama announced his plan to tackle global warming, which largely relies on executive orders to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants.

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

In May, West Virginia joined Montana and Kansas in filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the rule that allows the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

“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,” said West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, a Democrat.

Morrisey added that the state is also active in Supreme Court cases involving air pollution rules and interpretations of the Clean Water Act.

“We just want to make sure the laws are adhered to, and the EPA doesn’t have a very good record recently in adhering to the rule of law,” he said.

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