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23 states rally against EPA

CHARLESTON — West Virginia led a 23-state, two agency coalition of opponents to the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan in filing a “Petition to Review and Stay motion” in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

“Today is a really important day for the people of West Virginia and citizens in all of the states that have joined the coalition,” West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said in a telephone interview. “People should really be concerned by what the Obama administration and the EPA is doing.

“The cap and trade effort was rejected by a Democrat controlled House of Representatives in 2009,” Morrisey said. “What the EPA is attempting to do is to set environmental policy. The EPA is a regulatory agency, not a central energy policy planner.”

While Morrisey and the coalition of states that opposes the Clean Power Plan claim that the new regulation will dramatically increase utility costs for people who can afford it the least, the EPA boasts on its website that the plan will reduce carbon emissions by 32 percent in 15 years.

“There’s already momentum towards a clean energy future,” according to a graphic on the EPA’s web site. “The Clean Power Plan increases and secures carbon and air pollution reductions that further protect our health.”

Related: Clean Power Plan draws mixed reviews

According to the EPA, the public health and climate benefits of acting on climate adds up to as much as $54 billion in 2030 alone as a result of the implementation of the plan. The EPA also projects that solar and wind capacity is projected to double by 2030, “compared to 2013 levels.” The EPA states that wind power has increased by 300 percent since 2008 and solar power has increased by 2,000 percent in just seven years.

“My duty is to fight for the citizens of West Virginia,” Morrisey said. He characterized the EPA’s Clean Power Plan as “one of the most far-reaching energy regulations in this nation’s history,” and said it is part of President Barack Obama’s “blatant and unprecedented attack on coal.”

Morrisey said that if the rule is adopted, utility rates for West Virginians will be “incredibly expensive, not to mention the impact of the loss of jobs in the coal industry.” He claimed that the legal precedent for enacting the Clean Power Plan “simply does not exist,” and said challenging the regulation in the appellate court of the D.C. Circuit will provide opponents with a way to challenge the EPA. “We’ll finally get our chance to fight on the merits of the proposed regulation,” he said.

Other states that have joined West Virginia in the fight against the Clean Power Plan include Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, Wyoming, the Arizona Corporations Commission and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

This article was written by Bill Archer from Bluefield Daily Telegraph, W.Va. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.