Nine states join Murray Energy in lawsuit against EPA

July 8, 2014

Murray Energy Corp. has received the support of nine states in its litigation against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rulemaking aimed at controlling greenhouse emissions.

Murray Energy filed the lawsuit in June in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and accused the Obama administration of running afoul of the Clean Air Act’s plain language.

Murray Energy called the new standards, which are a signature piece of President Obama's climate change legacy, "illegal, irrational, and radical."

The suit argues that Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, under which the EPA is proposing the carbon pollution standards, prohibits the agency from regulating "any air pollutant emitted from a source category that EPA already regulates under" a different section of the law.

That argument is that the EPA can't regulate power plants under Section 111(d) if it already regulates those same power plants under another section of the Clean Air Act (The Hill, July 1).

West Virginia, Alabama, Alaska, Kentucky, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wyoming are joining the lawsuit, and filed a brief to the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia late last week.

"EPA’s assertion of authority denied it by Congress imposes real harms on the states now: States have to undertake huge amounts of burdensome work now to develop plans to meet the anticipated rule and cannot wait for the final rule and still have any chance of meeting the indicated deadlines," the brief from the nine states says.

The states take issue with the EPA's "extraordinary" exertion of its authority, according to the brief.

"The “specific prohibition” against the EPA’s proposed rule is in the very statutory provision the agency cites as its authority," the states write in the brief.

EPA chief Gina McCarthy has said the agency wouldn't have proposed the rules if they were not legally sound, and stresses that the EPA is affording states as much flexibility as possible on drafting their own plans to reach reduction targets.

The rules, which mandate states cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants 30 percent by 2030, have faced an onslaught of scrutiny from Republicans in Congress.

While Murray Energy's lawsuit is the first brought against the administration's climate regulation, others will likely follow.



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