Coal producer Murray Energy files suit over EPA’s CO2 plans

Ohio-based Murray Energy, the largest independent coal producer in the U.S., filed a June 18 lawsuit against the Obama Administration’s “radical” Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The lawsuit challenges the EPA’s promulgation of what the company calls “illegal, irrational, and destructive cap-and-tax regulations for existing coal-fired power plants. These cap-and-tax regulations will destroy millions of jobs, cripple the American economy, and cause massive blackouts in our Country.”

In its lawsuit, Murray Energy asks the court to issue a writ preventing the EPA from promulgating and implementing this rule on electric power generation. The June 2 proposed rule has a goal of a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 from existing power plants, with states able to make up their own plans to meet the goal.

Said the lawsuit about the main legal question at hand: “Given the express language in Section 111 (d) of the Clean Air Act that EPA may only mandate state-by-state standards for emissions that are not ‘from a source category which is regulated under section 112,’ does EPA have the legal authority to mandate state-by-state emission standards for existing coal-frred power plants when it has already promulgated a national emission standard for those same power plants under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act?”

“This is clearly an illegal attempt by the Obama EPA to impose irrational and destructive cap-and-tax mandates, which Congress and the American people have consistently rejected,” said Gary Broadbent, Assistant General Counsel and Media Director for Murray Energy, in a June 18 statement. “These proposed rules will cause immediate and irreparable harm to Americans, including our citizens on fixed incomes and our manufacturers of products that compete in the global marketplace.”

The Obama EPA has waged an “all-out War on Coal,” the company said, promulgating a series of rules and regulations seeking to eliminate the United States coal industry, and the very good jobs, and low-cost electricity, which it provides.

“The plain language of the Clean Air Act clearly prohibits the EPA from promulgation of these unlawful and very damaging rules,” said Broadbent. “We cannot afford to sit idly while American jobs and livelihoods are destroyed by these illegal regulations.”

Murray Energy is one of the largest employers in the U.S. coal industry, providing over 7,300 high paying, well benefited jobs and operating 12 active coal mines in six states, including Utah, Ohio and West Virginia. It last year bought several major longwall-equipped mines in northern West Virginia from CONSOL Energy (NYSE: CNX), expanding its already large production profile.

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.