WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – Attorney General Patrick Morrisey joined with other state Attorneys General Monday afternoon to denounce the Obama administration’s finalized “Clean Power Plan.”
“The final rule announced Monday blatantly disregards the rule of law and will severely harm West Virginia and the U.S. economy,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “This rule represents the most far-reaching energy regulation in this nation’s history, drawn up by radical bureaucrats and based upon an obscure, rarely used provision of the Clean Air Act. We intend to challenge it in court vigorously.”
President Barack Obama and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday unveiled the final version of their “Clean Power Plan,” which unreasonably mandates states to cut their carbon emissions by an average of 32 percent by 2030. This goal would be accomplished through a drastic reduction in coal-based energy generation in the coming years.
Attorney General Morrisey had already teamed up with a bipartisan coalition of 14 other states to challenge the preliminary version of the rule, which contained serious legal flaws. While the administration made some changes in the final rule, Attorney General Morrisey and his fellow Attorneys General still believe the final version is fundamentally flawed and illegal.
Attorney General Morrisey and his counterparts have argued for more than a year that the proposed rule is illegal because it is not limited to merely requiring power plants to install pollution technologies, which is all the Clean Air Act permits. Rather, the vast majority of the rule’s emissions reductions come from mandating that the States fundamentally alter their energy economies to consume less coal-fired energy.
“This final rule adopts a radical, unprecedented regime, transforming EPA from an environmental regulator into a central planning authority for electricity generation,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “With this final rule, the administration is doubling down on a proposal that would force states to fundamentally reorder their energy economies, which will lead to fewer jobs, higher electricity rates and put stress on the reliability of the power grid.”
The rule is also illegal because it seeks to require states to regulate coal-fired power plants under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, even though the EPA already regulates those same plants under the hazardous air pollutant program, or Section 112 of the Act. Amendments to the Clean Air Act in 1990 expressly prohibited such double regulation.
The administration is relying on a drafting error in a portion of the 1990 amendments to claim it has the authority to follow through with these onerous regulations.
Attorney General Morrisey and the broader coalition of Attorneys General announced Monday they intend to file legal actions challenging this final rule.
“Our coalition, in short order, will comprise of many states, consumers, mine workers, coal operators, utilities and businesses who are united in opposition to this radical and illegal policy,” Attorney General Morrisey said.