Murray Energy appeals EPA’s CO2 plans for both new and existing power plants

Ohio-based coal produder Murray Energy, one of the parties turned back by the federal court system in appealing the Clean Power Plan when it was in the proposal stage, on Oct. 23 said it filed suit the same day in federal court now that the plan has been published in the Oct. 23 Federal Register.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had issued the final Clean Power Plan on Aug. 3, but the courts ruled that it wasn’t an official rule subject to appeal until the Federal Register publication.

Murray Energy said it has filed two additional lawsuits against the Obama Administration’s “radical” Environmental Protection Agency “for their destructive and job-killing regulations.”

  • The first lawsuit challenges the Clean Power Plan, which imposes strict, unlawful greenhouse gas standards for existing power plants, the company said. “This is an unprecedented attempt by EPA to commandeer and re-design the United States’ electrical system, essentially dictating how electricity is to be produced and how much can be used,” the company added. “This political power grab of America’s power grid by the Obama EPA is clearly illegal, goes far beyond any statutory authority, and is, in fact, expressly prohibited by the Clean Air Act. In opposing Murray Energy’s prior litigation, in which Murray Energy made it abundantly clear that the EPA’s legal rationale for the Clean Power Plan is inherently and irreparably flawed, the EPA claimed that the final rule could have a different legal rationale. Indeed, it does not, and the EPA can no longer hide from their illegal activities. Given the clear illegality of the EPA’s actions, Murray Energy will also seek an immediate stay of the rule, in order to prevent further irreparable harm.
  • The second lawsuit will challenge the EPA’s greenhouse gas standards for new power plants, which was also published in final form on Oct. 23 in the Federal Register. That rule contains a mandate that all new coal plants be equipped with carbon capture and storage systems, which the power industry says is an impossible mandate to meet until that technology matures. “For more than three (3) years, the Obama EPA has effectively banned the permitting, financing, or construction of new coal-fired power plants by announcing impossible carbon standards,” said the company. “This illegal action continues to devastate the United States coal industry and the jobs and livelihoods that depend on it, and we are asking the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to finally put a prompt end to these illegal actions.”

“Our citizens on fixed incomes will not be able to pay their electric bills, and our manufacturers of products for the global marketplace will not be able to compete,” said Robert E. Murray, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Murray Energy. “We have no choice but to challenge the Obama Administration’s illegal actions in Court, and we will prevail.”

Murray Energy is the largest underground coal mining company in the U.S., providing nearly 7,000 jobs in six states, and ships coal to domestic customers in fifteen states. With the 2013 acquisition of several longwall-equipped mines in northern West Virginia from CONSOL Energy, Murray Energy became the dominant producer of Pittsburgh-seam coal out of Northern Appalachia. It also operates in states like Ohio, Illinois and Utah.

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.