CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey will be on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.
Morrisey will testify in front of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works’ Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee on the “Legal Implications of the Clean Power Plan.” The hearing will begin at 10 a.m.
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., is the chairwoman of the subcommittee.
“This hearing will give our office a prime opportunity to educate leaders in Washington, D.C., about our serious legal concerns with President Obama’s signature policy to severely reduce coal usage, which the EPA plans to finalize this summer,” Morrisey said in a press release. “If the proposed regulations go into effect, it will have a devastating impact on West Virginia, other coal producing states, as well as consumers who live in states that burn coal for energy.
"It is imperative that people understand the real harm that could be inflicted by these onerous and illegal regulations.”
West Virginia is leading a bipartisan coalition of states in a lawsuit against the EPA that challenges the legality of last June’s proposed rule requiring states to reduce carbon dioxide emission by 30 percent in 15 years. West Virginia also is an intevenor in another similar lawsuit. Oral arguments for both lawsuits were heard by a three-member panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on April 16.
The state’s lawsuit claims the proposed regulations are illegal because they seek to require states to regulate coal-fired power plants even though the EPA already regulates those same plants under the hazardous air pollutant program. Amendments to the Clean Air Act in 1990 expressly prohibited such double regulation.
Morrisey said West Virginia and other states believe the EPA is pushing these illegal and onerous regulations in an attempt to make it economically impossible for the nation to continue to burn coal. West Virginia currently ranks second among the states in coal production.
“An agency should not be permitted to threaten to impose a rule that it knows will never survive judicial review, in order to scare utilities, power plants, and coal mines into closing their doors in anticipation of the rule being finalized. It is an abuse of power that directly harms West Virginia and other coal-producing and coal-burning states,” Morrisey said.
Morrisey will be the first of five people to testify during the hearing. Other witnesses will be Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt; Roger Martella, a partner at Sidley Austin LLP; Kelly Speakes-Backman, the commissioner of the Maryland Public Service Commission and chairwoman of the board of directors for Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Inc., and Lisa Heinzerling, the Justice William J. Brennan Jr. Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center.
“I would like to thank Sen. Capito and other members of the subcommittee for inviting me and other witnesses to the hearing so we can outline the very real problems we see with these proposed rules,” Morrisey said. “In times like these, states need to work together and with our federal representatives to ensure that local citizens are protected.”