A setback to the Obama administration’s and the EPA’s Clean Power Plan came down from the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday. In a 5-4 decision, the court issued a stay on the plan, temporarily blocking its implementation.
The stay will remain in effect while a lower court considers legal challenges from coal-burning utilities, mining companies and 27 states. The case will probably head back to the Supreme Court for an eventual decision on its merits, but that’s unlikely to happen before 2017 at the earliest.
State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey called the high court’s ruling a huge victory for West Virginia, as the Clean Power Plan would strictly regulate emissions from coal-fired power plants in an attempt to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by one-third by 2030.
“We took the lead in this effort. We drove this process over the last year and a half,” said Morrisey. “We did it in order to really protect coal miners and their families. This is the beginning of our effort to really see more relief for the state of West Virginia.
“This is an unprecedented stay. We believe a stay of this type has never been granted before at the U.S. Supreme Court. The stay is in place at least until this gets back to the (court) on the merits.
“It’s a good day for West Virginia,” he added triumphantly. “We begin our comeback in earnest.”
The Exponent Telegram commends Morrisey for spearheading a legal challenge that maintains (as we have all along) that the EPA and the Obama administration are overstepping their constitutional authority. West Virginia and Texas led the coalition of states and state agencies whose challenge of the Clean Power Plan led to this week’s court ruling.
The Mountain State’s coal industry and its supporters applauded the Supreme Court’s decision.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. said that “the Supreme Court ruling sends a strong signal to the EPA that it must stop ignoring the damage its regulations are causing to our energy sector, our economy and our way of life in West Virginia.
“I have made it clear that this agency’s reckless actions must be stopped immediately. The EPA continues to overstep its legal authority and impose regulations one after another, regardless of the impact on our economy and our people,” Manchin added.
U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said the court’s ruling is consistent with legislation she introduced last year.
“The Supreme Court 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,” Capito said.
“West Virginians know the threats posed by the president’s Clean Power Plan, and many in our state are already feeling the effects of other EPA regulations with lost jobs and higher energy bills,” she added.
U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., also hailed the high court’s decision.
“President Obama’s regulations on coal-fired power plants represent a massive overreach that rests on shaky constitutional ground,” McKinley said.
The Supreme Court’s decision to slam the brakes on the president’s most important climate regulation has had an immediate impact at home and abroad, prompting several states to halt their carbon-cutting efforts, while sowing doubts internationally about the United States’ ability to meet its promises. Implementation of the Clean Power Plan is considered essential to the United States meeting emissions-reduction targets set in a global climate agreement signed in Paris last year.
Let’s hope the stay leads to the Supreme Court throwing out the Clean Power Plan altogether so that a bipartisan energy plan can be worked out following the 2016 general election. This nation needs an energy plan that reduces carbon emissions within a reasonable and responsible timeline — without the federal government picking the winners and the losers.