Kentucky Congressmen slam Obama EPA efforts on CO2 control

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Dec. 16 that he and other lawmakers filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court over the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

McConnell said that the EPA’s greenhouse gas program, part of the Obama Administration’s “War on Coal,” would harm coal jobs in his home state of Kentucky. Kentucky, with coalfields in both Central Appalachia and the Illinois Basin, is one of the largest coal producing states in the U.S. Electric utilities in the state, like Kentucky Utilities and Big Rivers Electric, also rely heavily on locally-produced coal for their power plants.

The amicus brief was joined by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Congressmen Hal Rogers, Ed Whitfield, Brett Guthrie, Thomas Massie and Andy Barr of Kentucky. Congressman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, also joined the brief.

The amicus brief was filed in a “sequel” case (Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency) to the Supreme Court’s historic 2007 ruling in Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency that the EPA can regulate greenhouse gases as hazardous pollutants under the Clean Air Act. That ruling resulted in the EPA’s 2010 first-ever permitting requirements for motor vehicles, known as the “Tailpipe Rule.” The EPA has since used the Tailpipe Rule as the basis for regulations on coal-fired power plants and other stationary sources.

McConnell said: “The President and the EPA have been misusing the 2007 ruling and subsequent regulations on automobiles to overregulate new and existing coal-fired power plants out of business, thus escalating their war on coal and Kentucky jobs. I am filing this amicus brief with the Supreme Court today because I believe the Obama Administration is usurping the lawmaking power. The EPA should not have used the Tailpipe Rule to further regulate coal-fired power plants. This is just another EPA power grab in their ongoing crusade to shut down our nation’s coal mines, and it must be stopped.”

Paul said: “This case is an egregious example of the EPA’s violation of the law in pursuit of its overzealous, anti-coal agenda. The ability to create laws is the purview of Congress and the EPA has clearly overstepped its authority. In doing so, accountability has been thrown out the window and Kentucky families are left with nothing but frustration and the likelihood of even higher energy costs and more job losses.”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.