Morrisey says battle against Clean Power rule just beginning

WASHINGTON, D.C. — State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said attorneys representing West Virginia and more than a dozen other states were able to make several key points Thursday in arguments before a federal appeals court on the federal EPA’s proposed Clean Power rule.

“We believe that the EPA is engaging in an unprecedented effort to transform American energy policy and severely limit the use of coal,” Morrisey said of the Washington, D.C. arguments.

The rule proposes cutting carbon pollution produced by coal plants by 30 percent by 2030. States also are required to come up with plans on how to slice emissions, meeting the target set out by the EPA.

Morrisey said the legal fight is somewhat of an uphill battle because the legal challenge is coming before the rule is finalized. He said the appeals panel focused on that Thursday.

“We know that courts are traditionally reluctant to rule before proposed rules are finalized but we think the case that we made is persuasive” Morrisey told MetroNews. “We were able to follow-up and talk about the imminent harm that’s occurring to the state of West Virginia and the coal-producing states across the country.”

Morrisey said they were also able to show the EPA has every intention to finalize the rule and rely upon a section of the Clean Air Act that the agency lacks authority to use.

The attorney general said the judges on the appeals panel asked probing questions about the merits of EPA’s proposal.

“They know this is a big case,” he said.

Morrisey said despite the questions about the premature nature of the challenge the battle is worth it.

“It (the proposed rule) has had a chilling effect on investment. West Virginia has to spend money on how to comply with this rule. All of these factors are different than normally what you would see. The timelines are so aggressive and not achievable. That’s another reason why courts should step in and provide relief,” Morrisey said.

The Clean Power rule could become final in June or July.