W.Va. joining 21 other states in challenge to EPA emissions rule

Jessica M. Karmasek Apr. 17, 2012, 10:15am



CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Legal Newsline) - West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced Monday that the state is joining 21 others in challenging President Barack Obama's "latest attack on jobs and West Virginia coal."

Tomblin said he has directed state Attorney General Darrell McGraw to join a petition for review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, challenging the Environmental Protection Agency's MACT Rule.

The governor said the rule is already causing electric utilities to announce plans to shut down coal-fired power plants in the state.

"This is a shining example of the EPA, an unelected federal bureaucracy, making policy without regard to the economic impact of its decisions," Tomblin said in a statement.

"I will continue to fight for West Virginia jobs and against the EPA's ideologically driven, job-killing agenda."

In October, the state joined 24 others and the territory of Guam in filing an amicus brief urging the EPA to delay the implementation of the new emissions regulations.

The brief urged the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to delay the regulations to protect and preserve jobs and affordable electricity rates.

The states requested that the court postpone the implementation of the MACT rule by one year to Nov. 16, 2012.

The extension would give the EPA additional time to respond to the states' concerns, fix potential technical flaws and undergo a further review of the economic ramifications of the regulation.

The EPA's Maximum Achievable Control Technology rule would create a new federal regulation to address the emissions of hazardous air pollutants from oil-fired and coal power plants.

The rule also would require the installation of new control technologies to meet the limits mandated by the EPA, and power plants unable to meet the new limits may be forced to shut down.

"(The) EPA is insisting on rushing ahead with a rule that will have a far-reaching impact, without adequately considering the serious concerns and questions raised by states and other interested parties in the rulemaking process," the states wrote in their October brief.

"Most notably, the rule under consideration has the potential to undermine significantly the reliability of our nation's electrical supply and significantly increase the cost of electricity to the consumer."

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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