Editorial: Clean Power Plan: High Court Decision a Victory

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to halt the enforcement of President Barack Obama’s job-killing Clean Power Plan is a temporary victory for West Virginia and the 23 other states that are correctly challenging the legality of these crippling regulations that have already caused unprecedented harm to our region.

Unfortunately, this decision will in no way reverse the great damage that has already been done to southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia. It also will not restore the thousands of good-paying jobs that have been lost in our region. Still, the high court ruling is a victory. And the 5-4 decision does prevent the EPA from enforcing its illegal and unprecedented power plan until the court challenge by the 24 states is resolved.

The states correctly argue that the EPA — acting under the guidance of the Obama administration — has exceeded its legal authority by double regulating coal-fired power plants and forcing states to fundamentally shift their energy portfolios away from coal-fired generation.

By issuing the temporary freeze, the justices signaled that opponents — including West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey — made strong arguments against the climate change rules. Area lawmakers were united Wednesday in support of the high court’s decision.

“We are thrilled that the Supreme Court realized the rule’s immediate impact and froze its implementation, protecting workers and saving countless dollars as our fight against its legality continues,” Morrisey said.

U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va., said the Supreme Court’s action “is a major victory for West Virginia, and we will continue the fight in both the courts and in Congress.” Jenkins thanked Morrisey for leading the charge on this issue, adding, “together we will use every tool possible to give hope to our coal miners and protect West Virginia’s jobs.”

U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va, added the decision “recognizes that Americans should not continue to bear the brunt of this administration’s costly regulations when there are serious doubts about their legality.” And U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said the ruling sends “a strong signal to the EPA that it must stop ignoring the damage its regulations are causing to West Virginia’s energy sector, economy and our way of life.”

The high court is not likely to issue a ruling on the plan until months after it hears oral arguments, which begin June 2. But any decision likely would be appealed to the Supreme Court, meaning a resolution of the legal fight is not likely to happen until after Obama has left office. Perhaps by then, a president who advocates a common sense, pro-fossil fuel energy policy will be in the White House.

We applaud Morrisey and the 23 states for continuing this all-important fight in court. With hope, a final and positive ruling in support of the states can be achieved.

And while there is no way to reverse the great harm that has already been done to our region, we can take proactive steps at the voting booths during the March 1 Super Tuesday Primary in Virginia, and the May 10 primary in West Virginia, by casting ballots for presidential candidates who support a common sense energy plan that includes a future for coal, natural gas and other fossil fuels. Once the primary dust has settled, we must all unite behind the best pro-energy candidate come the November general election.

Source: Bluefield Daily Telegraph