Coal producer Murray Energy sues EPA over new ozone rule

Ohio-based coal producer Murray Energy announced Oct. 26 that it has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the agency’s “exorbitantly expensive, illegal, and job-killing National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone.”

This recently-issued rule decreases the threshold for ozone emissions to 70 parts per billion, a level so low that some of the nation’s most pristine areas — including National Parks — will find themselves out of compliance, said the company, which also recently sued EPA about its newly-published Clean Power Plan for CO2 reduction from existing power plants. Furthermore, this ozone rule will cause coal-fired power plants to close prematurely, killing thousands of jobs and drastically increasing electricity rates for manufacturers and people who are poor or on fixed incomes, with no environmental benefit whatsoever, the company said.

Independent analysis of this ozone rule demonstrates that it will reduce the U.S. Gross Domestic Product by $140 billion per year, on average, through 2040, and by $1.7 trillion over that period, in present value terms, said Murray Energy. Further, it added that the labor market impacts of the ozone rule represent an average annual loss of employment income equivalent to 1.4 million jobs.

“For the past seven (7) years, the Obama Administration has waged a regulatory rampage against the United States coal industry, and the thousands of high paying, well-benefitted jobs which it provides,” said Robert E. Murray, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Murray Energy. “This Ozone Rule is yet another illegal and destructive action aimed at killing these jobs. We have the law, science, economics, cold hard energy facts, and the Constitution on our side.”

Murray Energy is the largest underground coal mining company in the country, providing nearly 7,000 jobs in six states, and ships coal to domestic customers in 15 states. Its operations include several high-production longwall mines working the Pittsburgh coal seam in Ohio and northern West Virginia.

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.