Just hours after being released, President Obama’s plan to limit carbon pollution from power plants already is facing a host of potential lawsuits and other challenges from coal industry leaders who say the rules will “irreparably injure” the U.S. mining sector.
The National Mining Association on Monday asked the Environmental Protection Agency to delay implementation of the Clean Power Plan, the first set of federal limits on carbon emissions from power plants. The rule calls for a 32 percent reduction in emissions from the power plant sector by 2030, and the majority of those cuts would come from the retirement of coal-fired facilities.
In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, National Mining Association President and CEO Hal Quinn argues the rules are likely to be tossed by federal courts and states should be allowed to halt implementation until legal cases are settled.
Beyond that, he says the regulations will decimate the already beleaguered coal industry.
“The rule … aims at nothing less than the comprehensive ‘transformation’ of the American electric power grid. Congress, however, did not give EPA the power to restructure how the nation produces and consumers electricity,” Mr. Quinn said. “Second, implementing the rule will irreparably injure the coal mining industry, coal mining workers, and coal mining communities. … Since more than 90 percent of coal sold in the United States is used for power generation, the rule will cripple domestic coal production.”
Mr. Obama will formally announce the plan in a White House speech Monday afternoon. The regulations form the basis for the president’s broader plan to reduce overall U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions by at least 26 percent by 2025.
But the Clean Power Plan faces a host of legal pitfalls, and powerful groups and political figures across the country already are eyeing lawsuits.
In a statement Sunday night, the National Association of Manufacturers said legal action is on the table.
“We need policies that foster continued innovation, encourage new investments and allow manufacturers to remain competitive — not ones that punish and penalize,” the organization said. “This regulation and the president’s climate regulatory action plan are not the answer. We will keep all options on the table, including litigation, to protect manufacturers’ ability to compete in the global marketplace.”
Meanwhile, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and other Republican attorneys general will hold a press conference Monday to respond to the regulations. Mr. Morrisey brought a previous lawsuit challenging the rules, but the case was tossed earlier this year when a federal court said the plan couldn’t be challenged until it was finalized.
Monday’s finalization of the Clean Power Plan opens the door for new legal challenges.